Advice for Sickle Cell Patients

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A message for people with Sickle cell disease

We know that this is a very worrying time for you. A new Coronavirus called COVID19 was first noted in China in December 2019 and since then has spread across most countries of the world including countries in Africa. The reason why this virus is so dangerous is that it is new, our bodies have never seen it before and so have no immunity or ability to fight it off. This means that if we are in contact with it we will become infected. The important thing to know is that most people will be absolutely fine and have just a normal cold or flu symptoms which will last a few days and then go away, but some people can get very sick and, as you have heard and read, some people can die. The Government and Chief Medical Officer announced on Friday 27th March that “vulnerable” groups should “cocoon” or stay very isolated from other people. People with Sickle cell anaemia (HbSS) are in that group because your spleens do not work properly and so your ability to fight infection is not as good as other people in the community. You can find information on how to do this and how to stay well on the HSE website; hse.ie, and we will be sending some information also.

There are a few things we would like to tell you;

  • All general clinics are cancelled but we are holding hydroxyurea clinics for small groups at a time to keep everyone isolated from each other. If you are taking hydroxyurea and have a clinic scheduled you will be receiving a phone call from us to tell you when to come and how to get your bloods done in advance. It is really important that you continue to take your hydroxyurea (unless we tell you not to) as this will help you prevent a sickle crisis. If your supply is running out or your prescription is running out please phone us to let us know. We are all still here and working.

  • All blood transfusions are still going ahead as planned so you should turn up on your scheduled date and time. We will be observing all precautions so you do not need to be anxious about being too close to other people. There is no evidence, at this time, that COVID19 can be transmitted in blood so you should not be anxious about this. You should also continue to give and take your iron chelation as prescribed.

  • If you are unwell, or feel that you are having a sickle crisis it is really important that you would continue to call us and come to hospital to be seen and treated as you would always have done. Do not stay at home if you are unwell, unless you have very mild symptoms and feel you can manage. If you are unsure what to do, call us and discuss it. 01 409 6100

  • Make sure that you have a thermometer and that it is working, if not get another!

  • Make sure you have enough of your usual medications and continue to take them

  • Make sure that you have a supply of paracetamol and ibuprofen but if you are feeling unwell try the paracetamol first as this may be all you need.

  • Keep well hydrated


Remember your team are still here and working for you. Do not be afraid to contact us if you are worried or need advice. Please do come to hospital to be seen if you are unwell, it is safe to do so and remember your sickle has not gone away so if you do not manage it properly that could also make you quite sick!

The COVID-19 Helpline is 01 4096117 but contact your team direclty on 01 4096100 if you become unwell.

Stay Safe, Wash Your Hands, Practice Social & Physical Distancing

From Your Sickle Cell Team at CHI at Crumlin