Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Prevention of Sickle Cell Symptoms


Complications of sickle cell disease can be avoided by preventing red blood cells from becoming sickle-shaped. Ways to help sickle cells stay round include:

  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Avoiding extremely hot or cold temperatures.
  • Avoiding places or situations with low oxygen, such as high altitudes, military boot camp, or strenuous athletic training.
  • Getting plenty of rest and taking frequent breaks during exercise.
  • Taking the medicine Hydroxyurea. People taking hydroxyurea must be monitored regularly by a doctor to ensure the right dose is given for the best effect.

One of the best things you can do to prevent sickle cell symptoms is to stay hydrated by drinking water. Download our hydration fact sheet.

Hydroxyurea is a medication that can help many sickle cell patients. It does not cure sickle cell disease, but it can improve many symptoms, by:

  • preventing pain episodes
  • preventing acute chest syndromes
  • decreasing the need for blood transfusions
  • decreasing the number of hospitalizations
  • improving survival

Read more about hydroxyurea treatment for children with sickle cell disease.

Last Edited: February 4, 2016
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