Sickle Cell Warriors are prone to a large variety of concerns ranging from crises to susceptibility to infections and increased morbidity and mortality. It is a chronic condition, however with proper management, warriors can live a long and happy life.
The Modalities of management are quite varied, however, there are a few VERY important things every sickle cell warrior and their caregivers/ support group must have at their fingertips.
These points are easily remembered by the acronym WISE-K, so as we enter the new year, do this for a healthier 2020
W - Water!
You need water! Lots of Water. Dehydration is one of the most easily recognisable crisis triggers and can easily cause problems. As a Warrior you should aim for at least 3-4 litres daily and even more when you have diarrhea, vomiting or sweating excessively. It is important to be hydrated so drink some water,and drink some more.
I - Infection Prevention/Immunization
Warriors are prone to Infections,so it is important they get immunised against the vaccine preventable diseases and take extra steps to prevent infection.Wash hands as often and as thoroughly as possible, ensure good food hygiene, and practice safe sex. Also contact with the sick, especially those infected with airborne diseases should be avoided or adequate precautions taken in that regard.
However! Get Immunised and be Infection Conscious
S - Support System
Living with Sickle Cell can be hard/frustrating/depressing/expensive so it is important to have a good support system.Family, Friends,Clubs and Sickle cell groups abound.Take advantage of these. Talk to supportive persons and stay away from persons who are unkind. Your mental health is quite important too so it is important to guard it jealously. Dont be afraid to ask for help or talk to your support system
E - Early Presentation/ Follow up
Regardless of their best efforts, some warriors still have problems. So it is important to present to the Hospital early whenever you have concerns because those few extra minutes/hours could be very important. Some situations need blood supplements, others antibiotic or malaria prophylaxis. These situations are unique to every warrior and these decisions are to be taken by your Doctor. It is encouraged to have regular checkups and if possible a personal physician. Take your drugs if prescribed and present promptly at a Hospital if indicated.
Last and Arguably the most important is:
As a Warrior,it is important to Know;
Know your Triggers
Know your Stable PCV
Know the Drugs you are using
Know your Last admission
Know if you have been transfused before
Know the options available to you
If you dont know;
Ask your Doctor
Search the internet
Read a Book.
Know anything and everything about sickle cell, and have informed conversations with your Doctor.
Dear Warriors! We are rooting for you!
Be Wise, K?
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