SICKLE CELL DISEASE DURING COVID -19 PANDEMIC
Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a common hereditary problem in Kenya. Its characterized by an abnormality in one of the genes responsible for the proper structure and function of the red cells. Persons with this disorder are prone to chronic anemia and other complications of the disease such as painful crisis, acute chest syndrome among others.
They are also at a higher risk of contracting infections such as viral, bacterial and fungal. The effects of COVID in persons with Sickle Cell Disease can be particularly severe since the virus that causes COVID-19 specifically invades the red blood cells which are already compromised in SCD. COVID disease can also precipitate the various Sickle cell crisis and events which can lead to unfortunate outcomes.
What sickle cell champions should know
The virus that causes COVID-19 infects people of all ages. However, evidence to date suggests that two groups of people are at a higher risk of getting severe COVID-19 disease. These are older people (that is people over 60 years old); and those with underlying medical conditions (such as SICKLE CELL DISEASE, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer). The risk of severe disease gradually increases with age starting from around 40 years. It’s important that adults in this age range protect themselves and in turn protect others that may be more vulnerable.
Sickle Cell Disease is an underlying medical condition and for this reason the champions are at risk since their immunity is not as strong. Basic protective measures against the corona virus Individuals with Sickle Cell Condition should adhere to all the measures rolled out by WHO and the Ministry of Health. They should be more careful as they are at a significantly greater risk of contracting the virus.
- Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue or flexed elbow when you cough or sneeze
- Avoid close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with people who are unwell
- Take lots of water, fruits and vegetables
- Keep warm and avoid strenuous activities
- Stay home and self-isolate from others in the household if you feel unwell
- Follow all advisories given to you by the Ministry of Health
- Avoid false information. Get information from your doctor, the ministry of health or a credible source not mere individuals
- Touch your eyes, nose, or mouth if your hands are not clean.
JOANNE CHAZIMA SICKLE CELL FOUNDATION APPEAL FOR COVID -19 PANDEMIC
COVID19 global pandemic has had an effect to a lot of our sickle cell champion’s communities. As we have come to learn, a lot of our champions who are in informal settlement are in need of basic items.
What should the sickle cell champion stock to keep them healthy during this season? (PACK)
- Medication : they need to buy medicine according to their prescription and stock them just in case the country goes into a lockdown: a. Hydroxyurea b) Paludrine c) Pain killers (avoid NSAIDS such as Brufen) d) Omeprazole e) Vitamin C tablets f) ZINC tablets g) Folate Others:
- Hand sanitizers
- Face Masks
- Gloves and more so
- Food pack