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Sickle Cell Crisis (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

If certain conditions develop in a person withsickle cell disease, the personmust contact a physician. If the physicianis not quickly available or cannot see the person right away, the person with sickle cell diseasemay choose to go to a hospital's emergency department. Contact the physicianin the followingcases:

  • Many people with sickle-cell disease have pain with enough frequency that they need to take pain medications at home. If the pain is unrelieved by the medication, or the pain is significantly different fromprevious episodes, contact the health care provider.
  • Ifexperiencing nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea;losing a lot of fluid; and having inabilityto drink and keep it down, the person with sickle cell disease isin danger of becoming dehydrated. This is a serious concern with sickle cell disease. The physicianor the hospital may provideIV fluids to replace the lost fluids.
  • It is important to control infection. If it appears that a person with sickle cell disease isgetting an infection, even ifusing antibiotics to prevent infection,contact the physician immediately.

A sickle cell crisis can often be managed efficiently and quickly in a hospital's emergency department with fluids and pain medicines. A person with sickle cell disease shouldnot delay going to the hospital. Delay can only make the condition worse and might requirehospitalizationfor treatment.

Go to a hospital's emergency department if these conditions develop:

  • Uncontrollable pain even with the use of narcotics
  • Continued loss of fluid leading to dehydration (ifvomiting)
  • Uncontrollable fever
  • Chest pain or shortness of breath
  • Severe abdominal pain
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/11/2014
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