What IS

Sickle cell anemia?

Care and Treatments

Pain in a person with sickle cell disease, because it will recur more often than not, must be treated quickly and effectively.

Phenylketonuria (PKU), Hemophilia, Tay-Sachs, and Muscular Dystrophy. Repeated pain, by the way it is experienced, will have an impact on the psychological and physical development of the child and on the way he feels the painful crises that will occur again and again.


Currently sickle cell anemia is incurable, but proper medical care can prevent its effects.

  • Drink lots of fluids
  • Tylenol (acetaminophen)
  • Oral and intravenous drugs
  • Daily penicillin in children two months to five years of age
  • Blood transfusions
  • Hydroxyurea treatment
  • Daily folic acid intake
  • Bone marrow transplants, etc.


Most states in the United States and some hospitals in Canada now have a simple blood test automatically performed on all at-risk newborns. This test is done simultaneously and with the same blood samples as other routine newborn tests. The electrophoresis of hemoglobin “hemoglobin electrophoresis” is the most used. Routine prenatal screening is already done in Ontario. If the results show the presence of sickle hemoglobin, a second blood test will be administered to confirm the diagnosis. These tests can also show whether the child carries the gene for the disease.

Acknowledgment: Certain information on this page is courtesy of: John K. Wu, MBBS, MSc, FRCP (C)
British Columbia Children’s Hospital and British Columbia Women’s Hospital & Health Center

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