Managing Sickle Cell

Only a few decades ago, people with sickle cell disease typically didn't live beyond young adulthood. But thanks to advances in treatment, many who have access to appropriate care are now able to successfully manage the disease and live better, longer, more productive lives, with some people reaching their 60s and 70s.

Health & Maintenance

Your commitment to following a treatment plan and living a healthy lifestyle will help you manage sickle cell. The keys to optimal sickle cell management are health maintenance and the prevention of complications. The following are recommended actions:

  • Drink lots of fluids.
  • Maintain a nutritious diet.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Avoid extreme cold and heat, and dress appropriately.
  • Avoid people who are sick.
  • Get regular check-ups.
  • Take folic acid daily. 
  • Children age 2 months to 5 years must take penicillin twice daily.
  • Children must receive all immunizations in a timely order.
  • Maintain good personal hygiene.
  • Avoid tobacco and alcohol use.
  • Attend support groups in your community.
  • Keep a positive mental attitude.
  • Believe in your ability to excel.
  • Complete education and develop skills.
  • Remember: "Sickle Cell Disease is what you have, not who you are!"-Linda Collins, sickle cell advocate and founder of the Have a Heart Sickle Cell Anemia Foundation.

Learn about managing sickle cell with exchange transfusion and hydroxyurea.