Sickle cell disease Infection (1569)

Key points below

What do I need to know about infections and sickle cell disease?

People with sickle cell disease tend to get infections more often.  These include pneumonia and bacterial infections in the blood and bones.  These infections can make a person with sickle cell very sick. Some can be life threatening. It is very important to watch for signs of infection, such as a fever. 

What can I do to be prepared and to prevent infections?  

What do I need to do if I/my child seem sick?

1.Take a temperature under the arm (axillary).  Go to the Emergency Department right away if it is 101.5°F (38.6°C) or higher.  You must be seen within 1 hour of noticing the fever. 

Do not give any medicine such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol for the fever.  Fever is sometimes the only sign of the start of a serious bacterial infection.

2. Call the nurse or doctor in the clinic if there are other signs of infection, such as:

Cold symptoms or breathing problems:


Change in activity:

Other symptoms:

What happens in the hospital?



Call the doctor, nurse, or the Sickle Cell Center if you have any concerns or there are: 

  • Any signs of infection listed above.  
  • Special health care needs not covered by this information.

If your child has a temperature of 101.5°F (38.6°C) or higher, take your child to the emergency department right away.  Your child must be seen within 1 hour.  Be sure to tell the staff that your child has Sickle Cell Disease.

  • Sickle Cell Center: Call (414) 266-2420, Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM. Ask to talk with a nurse
  • After hours, weekends or holidays: Call (414) 266-2000. Ask for the hematologist on call.