LAGOS – A chief nursing officer, Mrs Moji Daramola, on Friday identified infections, exposure to cold weather, exhaustion and dehydration as some of the factors that trigger sickle cell crisis.
Daramola, who works with the Victory Medical Centre, Oshodi, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
She said: “Most people with sickle cell disease (SCD) have episodes of painful crisis every year.
“Some factors that may trigger such painful episodes include infection, exposure to cold weather, strenuous exercise, fatigue and lack of oxygen in the blood.
“Also, dehydration, which is when you don’t take enough water throughout the day, may also trigger sickle cell crisis.”
According to her, frequency of sickle cell crises can be limited if people living with sickle cell take some preventive measures.
“Depending on each individual, the frequency of sickle cell crises can range from several episodes in a year to every few years for some.
“However, there are precautions for preventing painful sickle cell crises and reduce the number of crisis.”
Daramola said that drinking of plenty of water was part of the measures to prevent sickle cell crisis.
“You should know that maintenance of hydration is an important factor in prevention of sickle cell crises.
“You can never take too much of water, drink enough so that your urine is light yellow or clear like water.
“Keep a bottle of water close to you throughout the day,” she said.
According to her, other preventive measures include avoiding strenuous and undue exercise, getting plenty of rest and adequate sleep.
“People with SCD are advised to exercise with care, if you have to exercise, rest when you feel tired and drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
“Strenuous exercise reduces oxygen levels and may cause the red blood cells to sickle.
“Extreme temperature may trigger crisis. So, avoid exposure to cold weather and keep warm.
“Sudden changes to body temperature should be avoided like playing in a cold swimming pool.
“Get plenty of rest and sleep, and avoid stress to prevent crisis,” she advised.
Also, Dr Rasheed Akintola, a general physician, said that people with SCD could prevent severe crises by learning to recognise the symptoms.
He advised them to watch out for signs like fever, body weakness and headaches.
“As a person with SCD or a care giver, you should educate yourself on the warning signs of painful and severe crises.
“Such warning signs include fever, shortness of breath, severe headaches, dizziness, severe stomach pain or swelling, and painful erection in males.
“Other signs are very pale skin, sudden change in vision, seizures, weakness and jaundice.
“When you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor,” the nursing officer said. (NAN)