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  1. 3 Ways to Prevent a Sickle Cell Crisis in the Summer

    July 6, 2015 by Andrea
     Photo by Staffage via: kaboompics.com

    Photo by Staffage via: kaboompics.com

    Those colder months are but a memory now that summer has finally arrived. But, that doesn't mean that sickle cell warriors are out of the woods when it comes to the chance of a weather-related crisis popping up. Check out our tips for staying healthy with sickle cell during the warmer months, so that you and your family can enjoy less worry and an abundance of fun!

    1. Get Lots of Fluids.
    Water. Gatorade. Smoothies. Whatever your child -- or you -- enjoy drinking the most that's non-caffeinated and non-alcoholic. Of course, water is the absolute best. To make plain ol' water more fun, try infusing a pitcher of the stuff with fresh fruits. Why stay away from the caffeinated and/or alcoholic drinks? Beverages such as sodas, coffee, and wine also act as diuretics and can cause you to lose more fluids than you're taking in. According to the dailyburn.com, you can also eat your fluids! Soup, yogurt, watermelon, celery, cucumbers, strawberries, and lettuces are also great sources of hydration.

    2. Avoid Sudden Temperature Changes.
    You'll probably be doing a lot of swimming this summer, but before jumping into the pool, make sure you (or your little sickle cell warrior) rinses off with lukewarm water, so that your body slowly adjusts to the temperature change. Also be sure to wipe off any excess sweat and sit under some shade before running into an air conditioned place after being outside in the heat, as UW Health suggests.

    3. Choose Your Adventure -- Wisely.
    Vacationing with sickle cell doesn't have to be an anxiety-inducing thing, but you should definitely do some research on where you're going and what activities you plan to do while there, so you can be prepared. For example, if you plan to go hiking above 7,000 feet, you may need to bring along some oxygen with you. Even if you're not planning to hike above more than a couple thousand feet, you'll still need to plan rest periods, so that you don't over exert yourself and send your body into crisis.

    Have any other tips for preventing a sickle cell crisis during the warmer months? Leave them in the comments below!

  2. 3 Ways to Prevent a Crisis in the Colder Months

    October 15, 2014 by Andrea


    When you live with SCD, the fall and winter months bring more to mind than pumpkin spice lattes and Turkey Trots. You have to think about the increased risk of crises due to the change in weather. 

    According to a study led by the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine in 2010, "the debilitating pain experienced by people with sickle-cell disease becomes more intense when temperatures drop in the fall and winter months," reports VCU News. Why is this? When your body becomes cold, your muscles tend to use more oxygen in order to try and keep your body warm. As a result, this lessens the amount of oxygen in your red blood cells. Cold temperatures also cause blood flow to slow down, which can cause sickled cells to get stuck, back up the flow, and prompt pain. 

    Here are 3 ways to prevent a crisis in the colder months: 

    1) Layer up. Obviously, everyone should dress warmly when it's cold outside; however, this is especially important for people with sickle cell. As a crisis can be sparked with extreme cold or extreme heat, dressing warmly by layering your clothing is your best bet. This way, you'll help your body stay warm, which helps keep your blood flowing normally, and, if you start to get too hot while inside, you can simply remove the very top layers. 

    2) Stay hydrated. Yes, it's possible to become dehydrated in the fall and winter, as well, and dehydration can cause cells to sickle. Even if you don't feel thirsty, you still need to make sure you're taking in plenty of fluids -- water, hot chocolate, tea, juices, soups, etc. Even eating fruits, such as apples, cranberries,blueberries, plums, and bananas -- which are high in water content -- can help keep you hydrated. 

    3) Avoid being outside for long periods of time. You can still enjoy the crisp, autumn air or play in the snow for a few minutes, but be sure to dress appropriately when in the outdoors and not subject yourself to any extreme cold. When planning winter vacations, choose a place with a warmer climate or a place that has access to indoor heating, if the weather outside is a bit frigid. This way, the entire family can still enjoy all four seasons -- safely. 

    How do you prevent a crisis from occurring during the fall and winter? Tell us in the comments below!

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