|Living with a Child with Sickle Cell Disease|
All children depend on their parents or guardians for the kind of good care and nurturing that improves the quality of their lives. When it comes to a child with SCD, such care becomes even more special. If you are living with this type of child, check out a few things you can do to improve their quality of life sustainably:
It is essential to show kindness, exhibit patience and empathy to the child to build trust between both of you. Never forget that the severity and symptoms of SCD do not manifest the same in every patient. So, trust the child’s complaint of being in pain and pay attention to every symptom and consult a doctor.
Understand Your Child
It is your sole responsibility to understand and establish the limitations of your child’s capabilities. First and foremost, identify your child’s crisis-triggers and note them. At the end of every episode, discuss with your child what may be the possible cause. Even if you don’t get a helpful answer, you will keep increasing your understanding of their condition to the point of making a DOs and Don’ts list for the child.
Inform and Educate
Now that you have come up with a list, share it with your child as well as his/her teachers or caregivers. Have a chat with him/her about each known ‘crisis triggers’ to help them avoid any activity that may result in a painful episode and hence, hospitalization or a medical emergency.
A good example is to educate them that staying consistently hydrated and avoiding extreme heat or cold is a great measure against possible pain crisis. Teach them that taking breaks frequently helps them avoid dehydration or fatigue.
Give Them Optimal Support
Go with the child each time they visit the doctor and personally keep the doctor updated on your child’s condition and changes. Be there to discuss with the doctor and confirm that your child takes medication as prescribed and treatment as the healthcare practitioner advised.
Pay Attention to Minor Symptoms
Take every symptom seriously. For example, don’t go for over-the-counter medicines when your child has mild fever. Instead, seek medical advice. Harmless fever in children with SCD can be an indication of some impending infection or may quickly worsen when left untreated.
Instill Healthy Habits
Educate your child to embrace healthy living and make it their lifestyle. That improves their overall wellbeing and quality of life. Well nurtured children take plenty of liquids, a balanced diet, a SCD-friendly diet, and low-to-moderate intensity exercise to improve their life quality. Also teach them about how smoking, alcohol or drugs are a NO, for their health.
Maximize Your Child’s Nutrition
In addition to creating a stress free environment, it is essential to provide good overall nutrition to your child. Calcium and vitamin D rich foods, a good diet that includes a rainbow of fruits and veggies, lots of liquids, enough sleep and dietary supplements. All these can play a fundamental role in improving your child’s health and quality of life in spite of Sickle Cell Anemia.
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