Sickle cell anemia and Covid-19: All you need to know

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Sickle cell anemia is an inherited pink blood cell dysfunction attributable to a mutation within the gene accountable to make haemoglobin. The function of haemoglobin is to allow pink blood cells to carry oxygen from the lungs all through the physique. Normally, the versatile and spherical pink blood cells transfer simply via blood vessels. In sickle cell anemia, the pink blood cells are formed like sickles or crescent. “These cells become rigid and sticky and as a result, they can get stuck in small blood vessels which can slow down or even block the flow of blood and oxygen to parts of the body,” says Dr Fahad Afzal S, Consultant Hemato-Oncologist & Stem Cell Transplant Physician, Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre.

Symptoms often start from the primary 12 months of life, within the type of anemia, swelling over arms and ft, and repeated infections. As the kid grows older, there might be delayed development and episodes of extreme ache (referred to as ache disaster) over chest, stomach, joints and even bone. “Although there is no cure for most people with sickle cell anemia, there are treatments which can effectively relieve pain and help prevent complications associated with the disease, such as stroke, blindness, life-threatening infections,” he informed indianexpress.com.

People of any age with sickle cell anemia could also be at an elevated danger of creating Covid-19 (Photo: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

He additional shared that in accordance to the outcomes of two latest research from the USA, it was discovered that sufferers with sickle cell anemia had up to 6 occasions greater danger for Covid-19 associated loss of life in contrast to the final inhabitants. This shouldn’t come as a shock as earlier research had proven that people with sickle cell anemia have worse outcomes with influenza an infection in comparison to others. “Moreover, most of the patients with sickle anemia have coexisting kidney, heart and lung ailments that may increase risk of morbidity and death in this population. Long-term effects of COVID-19 on patients with sickle cell anemia will be clear only with clinical studies in the future,” he defined.

Since folks of any age with sickle cell anemia could also be at an elevated danger of creating severe Covid-19 associated signs, they need to take additional precautions to forestall getting contaminated. It is advisable that they top off on important medicines and provides that may final for just a few weeks. “These patients should be following recommended precautions such as wearing masks, washing hands regularly and social distancing. It is important that healthcare workers are aware that patients of any age with sickle cell anemia are a high-risk group, and ensure that care and treatment is provided to these patients in shortest time possible,” the skilled recommended.

There is a major overlap in signs of Covid-19 and these of sickle cell anemia equivalent to fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Health care staff ought to take a look at these sufferers for Covid and different infectious pathogens and have a low threshold for imaging. COVID-19 mostly presents in a diffuse method involving each lungs whereas infiltrates due to pneumonia and consolidation are sometimes localised.

Patients ought to instantly seek the advice of their doctor in the event that they develop any exacerbations of signs. “If vaccination with Covishield is considered, health care providers should be aware of the potential for the development of thrombosis (clots) in blood vessels accompanied by low platelet counts, 1 to 4 weeks after vaccination,” he cautioned.

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