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Sickle Cell Warriors and Flying Palaver

After reading Maryam Awuisa’s Burning Bright, it is pertinent to share some information about Sickle Cell Anaemic Condition, most people are not aware of. First, let me clarify that sickle cell condition is just that, a condition, and not a contagious disease one should hide from. Not to be prejudiced, but a lot of things others find easy to do are done with double efforts for the sickle cell carrier. One of such is flying. Air journey is way easier than travelling by road and more convenient. However, not so much for the sickle cell carrier are more at risks of a crisis when flying at a higher altitude.

These tips are not accredited information but are guides that have worked over time.

Inform your doctor before flying:

Discuss your upcoming travel with your Doctor.  This ensures your primary health provider is aware of the journey and the risks involved. They can advise you on the do’s and don’ts. Also, always travel with your necessary medical information.

Get your Beauty Sleep:

The night before you travel to your destination, ensure you sleep well. This is to get you well rested and ready to tackle the journey.

Get a Travel buddy:

If you are flying over a long period of time whether local or intentional flights, it’s best you ensure taking a travel buddy that understands your condition, as to avoid explaining yourself in the midst of chronic pains. Of course, you don’t need a baby sitter, but this is just to be on a safer side.

 Stretch:

When you are on the plane, make sure you don’t sit still for long, aim to take a walk at least every hour. Stretch those muscles, move from one side of the plane to the other.

Keep drinking:

Drink plenty of fluids as the air tends to be so dry, it is wiser to drink more, than to be dehydrated on the air. Obviously, only take non-alcoholic drinks, possibly, a milk drink.

Dress Warmly:

This is due to the cold temperature while on the aircraft. It is better to keep yourself warm. Have a sweater, or a long jacket or a scarf in hand. Avoid the temptation of dressing to a tee, as you may cause more problems for yourself. Exposing yourself to cold weather is wrong.

Be Sickle Conscious:

The staff of an Air craft should be sickle conscious whenever they observe any one in crisis they should respond immediately and not ignore as it may save a life.  Friends and relatives should be aware, don’t worry about their over monitoring tendency. One who is aware of the condition can surely inform whenever one notices any passenger in crisis.

Have your Medication:

Keep a supply of your medicines in the bag you plan to take on the plane. Preferably take a couple of your routine drugs before your flight to avoid any ‘wahala’. You are not a drug addict, but your routine drugs are meant to help you.

Avoid Long Stands:

If you can help it, avoid standing for too long at the checkpoint. The queues are sometimes exhausting and tiring, which may leave you short of breath before the flight takes off. Don’t jump the queue, however, appeal to the person next to you. Take a rest sitting. Most times we are tempted not to be labelled a ‘sickler’ and hence do all that we naturally know we shouldn’t.

Enjoy your Trip:

While it is necessary to be well prepared for your travel, it is essential you enjoy yourself. Unless you are breathless and need to signal the flight attendants, enjoy your flying experience. Eat up, look at the scenery around you.

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Adepeju Adenuga

Adepeju Adenuga is a writer (considering where you are reading this, makes perfect sense). She holds a Masters Degree in Literature in English from the University of Lagos.

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