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Sickle Cell Disease Tips: How I Turned Hydration into a Habit

I talk about the importance of drinking water a lot because it’s a health requirement for healthy and sick people. 

According to health experts, healthy adults should consume between 6 to 8 glasses of fluid daily. For people living with Sickle Cell Disease, the recommendation is even more vital.  

Staying hydrated helps your body to function at a more optimal level. This is especially important for sickle cell patients because dehydration can lead to severe consequences.

Is Hydration as Important as Doctors Say? 

Yes! Dehydration makes our blood thicker and therefore harder to run through our blood vessels. Consistently thick blood can be dangerous, especially for SCD patients. Thicker blood can trigger a possible vaso-occlusive crisis. So, keeping your body hydrated is vital since it can prevent such a crisis.

Shout Out to my Mom!

My parents helped me to fall in love with fluids when I was still pretty young. I remember how my mom made me think of drinking water as a fun thing to do. She would playfully make me compete with her to see who could drink a full cup of water without losing a drop.

My Love for Drinking Water

To put it clearly, my parents helped me to love drinking water. No wonder I grew up healthier than most kids my age, thanks to hydration, though other remedies helped as well. For example, I was also educated to take my medicine every morning and keep myself warm all the time. 

I took my water to elementary school and almost everywhere, and my teachers respected that. Initially, drinking 2 litres of water per day was challenging. But when my mom playfully and lovingly made me like it, it became my habit.

My Love for Sweet Drinks

Like every kid I know, I loved everything sweet, especially sugary drinks. So, sometimes my parents sweetened the drinking water I took to school with fruits. With water a little sweet, my parents could worry less about whether I was keeping myself dehydrated. They knew I was. 

Before going to middle school, I knew myself and my condition a little more and enough to value drinking water to a significant degree. I knew undoubtedly that hydrating my body made me look good, and above all that, it limited sickle symptoms and especially pain crises. This time, I could drink pure water for a significant number of days without mixing it with a sweet drink. 

You can try out different mixtures of fruit-infused water recipes.

Smaller, Realistic Goals

When I got older, my parents ended the sweet drink method and encouraged me to find different ways to increase my daily water intake. They taught me to break up my drinking water into smaller portions, such as 500-mL bottles, to ease the drinking routine. It worked and still works so well today.   

Try out different technologies for hydration 

You can use phone apps, hydration challenge bottles, seltzer makers, reminders, and other convenient or fun methods.

Now that I am even older and take full responsibility for my health, I know that hydration equals life.  

Some of the ways I now use to make hydration fun include;

1. Making flavoured fruit water

2. Pineapple peels and hibiscus flower tea( in Cameroon, we call it folerer). My mom made this delicious drink daily for me.

3. Vegetable and fruit juices. I have written a lot about this on this blog so check out other posts that mention this.

4. Soups. Soups are not only easy to make, but they are delicious, making it easier to get hydration that way.

5. Fruit popsicles. Especially important in the hot summer months

6. Eating fruits that have a high water content; like watermelons and 

7. Making shakes. I enjoy milkshakes made with almond milk and some fruit and vegetables occasionally.

8. Teas. I made a pot of dandelion tea today

It is past midday here, and I have already had a glass of warm lemon water before breakfast, a cup of coffee with almond milk during breakfast, a bowl of soup, a glass of water I boiled with strawberries. As you can see, I have already consumed well above a litre of water and the day isn’t even half gone yet. So you see, making hydration fun doesn’t have to be complicated.

If you live with sickle cell, please comment below about your hydration habit or how you are encouraging your child if you are a parent.

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