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Living With Hemolytic Anemia

Hemolytic anemia can be mild or severe. Inherited forms of hemolytic anemia are lifelong conditions and may require ongoing treatment. Acquired forms of the condition may go away if the cause is found and corrected.

Ongoing Care

If you have hemolytic anemia, take good care of your health. See your doctor regularly and follow your treatment plan. Talk with your doctor about whether you should get a yearly flu shot and a pneumonia vaccine.

Ask your doctor about ways to reduce your chance of getting an infection, such as:

  • Staying away from people who are sick and avoiding large crowds of people.
  • Avoiding certain kinds of foods that can expose you to bacteria, such as uncooked foods.
  • Washing your hands often.
  • Brushing and flossing your teeth and getting regular dental care to reduce the risk of infection in your mouth and throat.

Lifestyle Changes

You can take steps to stay healthy. For example, try to get plenty of rest.

If you have cold-reactive autoimmune hemolytic anemia, stay away from cold temperatures. During cold weather, wear a hat, scarf, and a warm coat. When taking cold food out of the refrigerator or freezer, wear gloves. Turn down air conditioning or dress warmly while in air-conditioned spaces. Warm up the car before driving in cold weather.

If you have glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, avoid substances that can trigger anemia. For example, avoid fava beans, naphthalene (a substance found in some moth balls), and certain medicines (as your doctor advises).

Ask your doctor what types and amounts of physical activity are safe for you. You may want to avoid certain sports or activities that could worsen your condition or lead to complications.

Hemolytic Anemia and Children

Parents of children who have hemolytic anemia usually want to learn as much as possible about the condition from their child's health care team.

You can be an active partner in caring for your child. Talk with your child's health care team about treatment, diet, and physical activity. Learn the signs of worsening anemia and possible complications so you can contact your child's doctor.

You may want to educate family members, friends, and your child's classmates about hemolytic anemia. You also may want to tell your child's teachers or other caregivers about the condition. Let them know whether your child has any special limitations or restrictions.

Family members, friends, teachers, and caregivers can provide a network of support to help your child cope with his or her hemolytic anemia.

Allow teenagers to have input in decisions about their health. This encourages them to take an active role in their health care. Help them understand lifestyle restrictions and their medical needs so they can better cope with having hemolytic anemia.

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March 21, 2014