Lesson 11 of 17
In Progress

Five Tips to Help Prevent Infections

SCFA_Coach October 13, 2023

Five Tips To Help Prevent Infections

Common illnesses, like influenza quickly can become dangerous for a person with SCD. The best defense is to take simple steps to help prevent infections.

1. Vaccines—Vaccines are a great way to prevent many serious infections. Adults and children with SCD should have the influenza vaccine every year, as well as the pneumococcal vaccine and any others recommended by their doctor.

2. Penicillin—Penicillin can help prevent infections. Children with SCD should take penicillin (or another antibiotic prescribed by a doctor) every day until they are at least 5 years of age.

3. Washing hands—Washing your hands is one of the best ways to help prevent getting an infection. People with SCD, their families, and other caretakers should wash their hands with soap and clean water many times each day. If you don’t have access to soap and water, you can use gel hand cleaners with alcohol in them.

Wash your hands before
Making food.

Wash your hands after
Using the bathroom.
Blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. ƒ Shaking hands.
Touching people or things that can carry germs, such as:
Diapers or a child who has used the toilet.
Food that has not been cooked (raw meat, raw eggs, or unwashed vegetables).
Animals or animal waste.
A person who is sick.

4. Food Safety—Salmonella, a type of bacterium in some foods, can be especially harmful to children with SCD. To avoid exposure to this and other bacteria and to stay safe when cooking and eating:

Wash your hands, cutting boards, counters, knives, and other utensils after they touch uncooked foods.

Wash vegetables and fruit well before eating them.

Cook meat until it’s well done. The juices should run clear and there should be no pink inside.

Do not eat raw or undercooked eggs. Raw eggs might be “hiding” in homemade hollandaise sauce, Caesar and other homemade salad dressings, tiramisu, homemade ice cream, homemade mayonnaise, cookie dough, and frostings.

Do not eat raw or unpasteurized milk or other dairy products (cheeses). Make sure these foods have a label that says they are “pasteurized”.

5. Avoid Reptiles—Salmonella (mentioned previously) is present in some reptiles and can be especially harmful to people with SCD. Make sure children and adults stay away from turtles, snakes, and lizards.