I previously shared some tips for managing sickle cell. If you found those useful, I have a few more suggestions that also may help.
I find that when I am in pain, balms such as Mentholatum Deep Heat help. Balms that contain ingredients such as menthol and methyl salicylate are counterirritants and have pain-relieving properties. Once applied, the change in temperature triggers the dilation of blood vessels and promotes blood flow. Balms can also distract from the feeling of pain.
‘It’s too cold for fashion’
My parents told me repeatedly throughout my childhood that it was too cold for fashion — meaning that I should prioritize my warmth over my fashion sense. They constantly reiterated that cold weather can trigger a vaso-occlusive crisis (VOC), so I should always dress warmly. Sometimes layers of clothing ruin the look you are trying to achieve. Dressing warm is not always fun, but it is necessary.
Our blood vessels constrict in colder temperatures, making it harder for blood to flow and increasing the chances of a VOC. It is essential to stay as warm as possible! During colder months, my wardrobe consists of thermal vests, thermal leggings, jumpers, tracksuits, a thick winter jacket, hats, scarves, gloves — the full works.
Being open about my health with my closest friends is useful. My friends do all they can to ensure that I am as healthy as possible. For example, they remind me to take medicine and drink water and accompany me to appointments and monthly blood transfusions. I don’t feel as though I am carrying the burden of sickle cell alone, which is helpful. A problem shared is a problem halved, right?
I highly recommend speaking to the people closest to you about your health and letting them know what they can do to help you.
Have any of these tips helped? Do you have additional ones? Please share in the comments below.
Note: Sickle Cell Anemia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Anemia News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell anemia.