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Sickle cells and Covid: “Alienation and depression”

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People with sickle cell disease fall into the “extremely vulnerable” group from a Covid-19 perspective (Photo: Getty Images).

The threat of the coronavirus is a real concern for everyone, but the black community is overwhelmed by rising mortality and worsening outcomes.

One reason behind this could be due to the prevalence of hereditary diseases such as sickle cells, which mainly affect people with African and Caribbean backgrounds.

Sickle cells are hemoglobin disorders that change the shape of red blood cells into a “sickle” shape, which can cause obstruction and damage to various organs.

Sickle cells can cause intolerable pain and can be life-threatening, causing multiple problems such as certain serious infections, stroke, chronic fatigue, growth retardation, and progressive tissue and organ damage. Cause Living in this state makes you very vulnerable to Covid-19.

During the pandemic, people with sickle cells were advised to strictly adhere to shield measures to keep themselves safe. This is because people living with sickle cells fall into a very vulnerable group, “says John James OBE, CEO. Sickle cell association..

‘Covid-19 poses a specific threat to people living with sickle cells. Not only are people living with sickle cell cells already at risk of serious life-threatening problems, they are also at significantly increased risk of getting an infection.

At the Sickle Cell Society, requests for information and advice have increased significantly through the helpline, seeking support and advice on a variety of topics, including how to best protect yourself and your family and the financial implications of staying. Ask questions about getting home from work, keeping children out of school at first, and protecting them while attending regular hospital visits.

“People who carry the sickle cell gene (sickle cell trait) are less vulnerable to coronavirus infection (unless they fall into another vulnerable category), often with people with sickle cell disease. They live together and will be involved. They are protected.

But what does it look like for patients with sickle cells who have been forced to take additional precautions over the past few months?

Not only are they addressing concerns about their own health and the health of their loved ones, but horrifying statistics about them are also being attacked. High mortality rate of ethnic minority groups..

There is still little awareness of the effects of living with sickle cells (Photo: Getty Images / Maskot).

laurel When she received the text and letter telling her not to go out for three months, she said she wanted to be a prisoner at her home.

“How do you deal with a 12-week lockdown? I think you’ve always dealt with living with a chronic blood disorder. Trying to grow as a child and a normal teenager. It’s a disease that has been primarily controlled for many years, “says Laurel.

“Yes, it all flooded me and made me realize that this was exactly what I had felt for years. Out of control, I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

“It was very funny to see people’s reactions and how they deal with lockdowns. It’s an illness that makes me do something, go anywhere, or become nobody. It was just a reminder that I was tied up. I felt very different, I was different, if they didn’t experience it, no one could imagine that feeling. I could not do it.”

Laurel says that over the years, coping with the stress of her condition has devoured her self-belief, and pandemic stress has brought all those old anxieties back to the surface.

“Every time I was admitted to the hospital, I felt a little less confident and alienated,” she says. “I believe I started to feel a little depressed because of my situation, but I didn’t realize it was classified as depression.

“But I’m also in a” positive “mode, turning a negative situation into a positive one. With my 12-week home notification submitted, I decided to create a 12-week timetable to achieve what I had postponed or had no time to complete due to my busy life.

Laurel read her days, studied the Bible, and learned French. She decided to make the most of this time and control her situation as much as possible.

“I spent 12 weeks updating my website, creating ideas for new children’s books, building skills with Adobe’s creative packages, and creating creative art, including painting new canvases.

“My family eventually joined me as the whole country was locked down and everyone was busy working from home or completing tasks that were on hold due to lack of time. This was an unexpected and uncontrollable new situation for everyone, not just me. “

For Laurel, and thousands of people living with sickle cells, Covid is a very new and scary situation. Experts are still resolving long-term impacts and potential risk factors, which is in an uncertain position. But research is being done.

A national group of doctors and nurses caring for people with hereditary anemia since March 2020 – National Hemoglobinopathy Panel – Meet to discuss how Covid-19 affected patients.

The group reviews the guidance issued by NHS England and advises NHS England and the Patient Support Group on specific Covid-19 risks. Hospitals across the UK have sent anonymous data on the number of Covid cases and what happens to those who get them.

As of May 6, 195 patients with sickle cells have been reported to have evidence or suspicion of Covid-19. Of these, 175 were adults and 20 children.

About three-quarters of the patients were hospitalized (146) and the rest were managed at home. About one-tenth of inpatients required intensive care (15). Of the 20 children, none needed intensive care.

The photo is not yet complete as some people are still being treated for Covid-19. However, the available results show that for every 100 patients infected so far, 92 have recovered and 8 have died.

Those who died were more likely to have other medical problems such as heart disease, cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Researchers say it’s too early to determine if patients with sickle cell disease are worse than the general population of Covid-19.

They also state that adults with sickle cell disease should be considered “clinically extremely vulnerable” and should follow government guidance on shielding.


How to stay safe in the presence of sickle cells

  • Advice to “Shield” has been suspended. From August 1st, the government will give you Keep a strict social distance Not a complete shield measure.
  • As long as your business is Covid-safe, you can go to work as needed. If possible, it is safer to work from home.
  • Children with sickle cells can return to school or college if possible, just like their friends and classmates. Children should often wash their hands and keep a social distance.
  • Care should be taken as Covid-19 can be a serious infection and can cause additional complications in some people with sickle cell disease.
  • Some people with certain complications of sickle cell disease may be advised by their doctor to continue the shield after August 1st.
  • Talk to your sickle cell doctor or nurse specialist if you are particularly concerned about the shield stopping.

Sickle cell association

“Sickle cell disease made me so angry, and even now sometimes when I feel low, I ask:” Why me? “, Says Laurel.

“The voice whispers to my ears.” If it weren’t for you, it would have been someone else. ” Then I humbly regain that idea because I don’t want sickle cells and what I’ve experienced with anyone else.

“I was born as a fighter, I live as a fighter, and I die a fighter. Sickle cell disease is not myself, but it is part of me and my life I will try to raise awareness of sickle cell disease as much as possible because I need to take ownership so that it does not take over.

Do you have a story to share? We want to hear from you.

contact: [email protected]..

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