Sickle Cell Pain Crisis

Sickle cell crisis happens when some of the red blood cells that are the wrong shape (sickle shaped instead of round) get stuck in your small blood vessels. This blocks blood flow through these vessels.


To prevent a sickle cell crisis:

  • Adults should drink at least 8 glasses of liquid every day. For children, this amount should be less.

  • Do not drink beer, wine, or hard liquor.

  • Take your medicines as told by your doctor.

  • Keep all appointments with your doctor.

  • Find ways to lessen any stress you may have.

  • Get 8 hours of sleep every night.

  • Dress warmly in cold weather.

  • Do not go to places that are high up in the mountains.

  • If you cut or scrape yourself, keep your wound clean. Cover it with a bandage.

  • Exercise as your doctor tells you. Do not exercise so hard or so long that you sweat.


  • You have bad pain.

  • You have a bad headache.

  • You have trouble breathing.

  • You have chest pain.

  • You feel weak or very tired.

  • You start to throw up (vomit).

  • You have watery poop (diarrhea).

  • You have a temperature by mouth above 102° F (38.9° C), not controlled by medicine.

  • Your baby is older than 3 months with a rectal temperature of 102° F (38.9° C) or higher.

  • Your baby is 3 months old or younger with a rectal temperature of 100.4° F (38° C) or higher.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch this condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.