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My Friend Jen

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Sickle Cell and Coronavirus

My Three Top Tips for sickle cell patients during this coronavirus pandemic.

Being a part of many sickle cell groups with both professionals and patients, I am aware of the concern everyone has about the risks of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Firstly, let me just disclaim that this is not professional advice and if you have any major concerns you can find guidance and information from the NHS and UK Government Response.

Now we’ve cleared that up… I’ve done my own bit of research into COVID-19, as I believe it is best to be informed as opposed to just opinionated. My conclusion: COVID-19 is a flu-like virus that causes severe respiratory symptoms. It is only considered to be more dangerous than flu at the moment because it is new and may be spreading faster than flu.

So what does this mean for sickle cell patients?

We don’t need to panic but we do need to be careful; prevention is better than cure!

People with sickle cell do fall into the at-risk group. This is because of our lower immune systems and higher risk of developing more serious complications, like pneumonia and acute chest syndrome (acs).

My 3T’s: Three Top Tips for sickle cell patients during this coronavirus pandemic.

1. STRENGTHEN YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

There are so many natural ways you can boost your immune system. Ginger, garlic and citrus fruits are all great immune strengthening ingredients. During winter months, regular flu season and whenever I’m feeling under the weather I make juices and teas to give me a boost, which always helps. I also take Vitamin C which, as well as being great for the immune system has countless other health benefits.

2. RELAX

No matter how much immune boosting supplements you take, the one thing that will undermine all of your efforts is stress! Since stress can also trigger a sickle crisis, finding new methods of relaxation during this time will be something we can benefit from in the future. The most vital stress relieving advice I will give to you in light of what is going on is to Take A Break!

Take a break from the news, your phone and social media; the more of this craziness you consume the more you’ll stress about it. Try practicing some deep breathing, mindfulness or a guided meditation (also great for when in a crisis). You can also check out my 3T’s for staying stress free to get more relaxation ideas.

3. BE EXTRA

By now, we should all be planning to self isolate, but If you do decide to go anywhere, do anything or be around anyone, be extra cautious.

Since I am a complete germaphobe (but not obsessive), this tip is pretty much every day life for me. Assume every surface, every place and every person has germs. I know you’re probably reading this thinking ‘that is really extra’ but that is the title of the tip.

Even your friends and family, as much as you love them and they love you, could pass something on to you un-knowingly. Every single person does not present the same symptoms with this virus so don’t depend on hearing a cough or a sneeze before you start to be cautious. You may miss out on a few hugs but I recon it will be worth it.

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