Anaemia and haemophilia are two of the most common blood disorders and parents of anaemic or haemophiliac children fortunately have a number of support organisations from which to seek advice and support.
What is anaemia and haemophilia?
Anaemia and haemophilia are both blood disorders that affect sufferers from birth and in most cases are hereditary – some varieties of anaemia are hereditary and some are caused by iron deficiencies – i.e. they’re passed down by their parents who may or may not be affected themselves.
Anaemia is a life threatening blood condition that’s usually the result of a lower than normal amount of haemoglobin or a decrease in the number of red blood cells; however, it may also be the result of the haemoglobin molecules’ decreased oxygen-binding ability.
Haemophilia is a group of blood disorders that inhibit the body’s capacity to control blood clotting or coagulation; functions that stop bleeding when blood vessels are broken.
Tips for parents of anaemic or haemophiliac children
Both anaemia and haemophilia are manageable to a great extent though there are obviously a number of precautions that parents must be aware of. This is a reason in itself to get in contact with a local support organisation if your child suffers from a blood disorder.
Depending on the severity of the child’s condition anaemia is often easier to manage than haemophilia, though parents of anaemic children must still exercise caution at all times for the safety and wellbeing of their child.
Anaemia – Tips for parents
In addition to dizziness and fatigue, anaemia sufferers, particularly anaemic sickle cell sufferers, often suffer from vaso-occlusive episodes with the most common symptoms being ‘bone pain’; an intense pain in the arms, back, legs and skull.
This can be heart-wrenching for parents to watch their children suffer from, though there are ways to mitigate occurrences as well as ways to lessen the severity of the pain.
Triggers for bone pain include dehydration, exposure to extreme cold or heat, exhaustion/fatigue, infection and stress and to mitigate occurrences you should:
– Discourage vigorous exercise
– Ensure your child is well-hydrated
– Dress them warmly in winter and coolly in summer
– Take them to the doctor at the first signs of fever or infection
Parents should also work on a pain assessment scale between zero and ten with their children, with zero being no pain and ten extreme pain, and they should also keep pain medication handy at all times.
Furthermore, parents are encouraged to increase their awareness of anaemia so as to be able to provide their child with as much support as possible and when they’re old enough, to also increase their child’s understanding of their condition.
Haemophilia – Tips for parents
Whilst growing up entails taking a certain amount of risks, so as to develop and learn how the world works, haemophilic children are prevented from taking the same risks that children unaffected by this blood disorder take for granted.
This means that children who suffer from haemophilia are unable to do many of the same things their peers are able to do, though with care taken to avoid taking ‘unnecessary risks’, there’s no reason why children with haemophilia can’t enjoy a well-rounded childhood.
Moreover, parents whose children suffer from this blood disorder also suffer themselves; after all, who wouldn’t feel a certain amount of stress knowing that their child’s life is more at stake than other parent’s children?
Childproofing the family home can only help to a certain extent as there’s always the possibility that children could experience ‘a bleed’ doing something seemingly innocuous.
Whilst parents with haemophiliac children will always experience a certain amount of stress, there are a few things they can do to reduce stress and worry.
– Meditation can help to reduce the stress you experience
– Educate your child about haemophilia and what it entails
– Make your child aware of precautionary measures
– Explain the risks of haemophilia and the repercussions of carelessness
– Keep clotting medication handy at all times
Having a child with an anaemia or haemophilia is never going to be easy; however, there are support centres and groups that can help to make life less stressful for you and your child.