SICKLE CELL DISEASE
Sickle cell disease is a hereditary blood disorder caused by abnormal haemoglobin found in red blood cells.
Causes of sickle cell disease
- In people with sickle cell disease, the shape and texture of the blood cells can change.
- The cells become hard and sticky and are shaped like sickles, or crescents.
- The cells die prematurely leading to a shortage of red blood cells.
- This causes the symptoms of anaemia such as tiredness and breathlessness.
Symptoms of sickle cell disease
- If you have sickle-cell disease, your blood cells can get stuck when moving through small blood vessels, stopping the supply of oxygen to parts of your body.
- This is known as a 'sickle crisis'.
- This can cause pain, tissue damage, and can lead to other serious complications, such as a stroke, or blindness.
Treatment for sickle cell disease
- The only cure for sickle cell disease is a stem cell transplant.
- The symptoms of sickle cell disease can be treated and people with the condition can learn how to help prevent a sickle crisis from happening.
Common triggers of a sickle cell crisis
- Excessive temperatures
- Excessive physical activity
- Meet parents/carers and where available the Sickle Cell Clinical Nurse Specialist to draw up an Individual Healthcare Plan. This will include what to do in the case of a sickle cell crisis.
- Ensure all staff are aware of adjustments agreed to support the student make the most of school.
Fluid intake and temperature
- Allow students to have a water bottle available always.
- Allow students to use the toilet as required without fuss.
- During cold weather plan for the student to access an indoor space with some friends so they do not feel isolated.
- Meet with parents/carers and the student to plan support around their physical needs.
- Use of the school lift may be required
- Allow the student to set their own pace during PE lessons.
- If an outdoor PE session takes place on a cold day provide an alternative indoor PE activity.
- Following swimming allow time to get properly dry and to dress warmly.
- If a student is absent for more than 2 days email or post-school work home. Falling behind can cause additional stress.
- Allow time to catch up with missed work.
- Check in with a student on their return and help plan a catch-up schedule.
- If admitted to hospital contact the hospital school staff promptly with details of work.
- Consideration needs to be given to allow more frequent toilet stops on longer journeys.
- Find the location of the nearest Hospital Accident & Emergency department.
- Get information and permission for the administration of medication in case of a crisis.