Why students with sickle cell have crisis during exams –Haematologist

HEALTHDIGEST– An Associate Professor of Haematology at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Dr. John Aneke has said that stress is often the cause of sickle cell crisis during examinations for persons living with the health condition.

According to the Consultant Haematologist, the rush to catch up with the academic seasons could become stressors in persons living with sickle cell, noting that such students should adopt a behavioural modification pattern to curb the sickle cell crisis.

Aneke spoke with PUNCH HealthWise ahead of the 2022 World Sickle Cell Day themed: Sickle Cell Disorder: Importance of Self Care, noting that students living with sickle cell should find ways to avoid the stressors.

Aneke said, “What I recommend is behavioural modification if it is possible. 

What this means is that you adjust your daily routine to make sure that it doesn’t place you where you are so pressured.

“For example, normally as a student, if you don’t utilise your daytime very well, you’d want to do crash a programme at night during exams but a sickle cell patient may not successfully do that because those are likely triggers of crises.

“What I advise is make sure you do something that will help you get the minimum number of hours of sleep a day. 

So, use your daytime very well then at night you should make sure you get at least six hours of sleep,” he said.

Aneke also urged the students to ensure they take their medication religiously during the examination period.

He, however, added that whenever they sense any problem, they should get in touch with their health care provider.

He encouraged them to cultivate a relationship with their health care providers so they can easily communicate the state of their health at all times.

Aneke urged persons living with sickle cell not to wait till their crisis set in before they speak with their health care provider.

Persons living with sickle cell, the expert said, could often tell when they are about to have a crisis, stressing that they should endeavour to meet their specialist to nip the crisis in the bud and prevent long hospital stays.

Taking self-care seriously is important to preventing sickle cell crisis, he said.

Persons living with sickle cell, he said, should always sleep under mosquito nets, ensure they are not exposed to extreme temperatures, and also avoid exerting themselves physically or/and emotionally aside from taking their medications religiously.

He also encouraged persons with sickle cell to cultivate the habit of reading and learning about the health condition so they can learn new ways of managing the condition.