Health & Recipes, Sickle Cell Disease

4 Ways to Keep Your Child with Sickle Cell Healthy on Vacation

It’s National Sickle Cell month and I’m back with a new post about raising children with Sickle Cell anemia. When my daughter was little, I heard so many horror stories online that we didn’t do much because I lived in fear. As she grew, I quickly learned that being afraid all of the time was no way to live. Now we make sure that we have some helpful guidelines in place, but I don’t restrict her. So, if you’re a parent of a child with sickle cell and you’re worried, release the stress. Remember, 1 Peter 5:7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

So, now that you’re going to live freely and allow your child to do the same how do you actively prepare to keep him or her healthy?

Get check-ups

First, get regular check-ups. Even when your child looks and seems OK, the best act of prevention is to check in with a doctor (your child’s primary care physician and hematologist as instructed.) Your doctor may be able to spot something that you might not be aware of. For instance, during one of my daughter’s routine check-ups, the doctors noticed that her blood work was abnormal. Her body was fighting an internal infection that I wasn’t aware of. We were able to monitor her and give her the antibiotics needed.

Doctors can also give you clearance and reassurance that it’s fine for your child to travel. When you have a child with Sickle Cell Anemia, making sure that your child has enough oxygen can be concerning during a flight. My daughter has taken several flights, the longest flights were about 5.5 hrs. To keep her oxygen levels in check, the days leading up to the trip we made sure that she was well hydrated and well-rested. We also had her keep an empty filtered water bottle with her at all times. She filled it up after security and took it on the flight.

Stay Hydrated

I just mentioned that hydration is important for flights, but it’s also important throughout the duration of your trip. Especially while on vacation when you may be mesmerized and occupied by your adventure. Taking a water bottle with you is convenient and can help you manage your child’s water intake, they should need it refilled at least a couple of times a day.

Rest

All-nighters on vacation can be tempting, but for our children, it’s not the best idea. Trying to keep their schedule as close to your normal routine is optimal, but if you let him or her go to sleep late, giving them more time to sleep in can be useful. While resting, our bodies replenish cells and repair themselves. According to Healthline “Exercise creates microscopic tears in your muscle tissue. But during rest, cells called fibroblasts repair it. This helps the tissue heal and grow, resulting in stronger muscles.”

Pack a Safety Kit

While you’re out and about keep some items with you so if there is an emergency related to sickle cell you won’t need to scramble, everything you need will be right with you. Here’s what should be in the kit:

  1. Filtered Water bottle
  2. Wipes
  3. Cooling towel
  4. A portable blanket
  5. Pain medicine
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