Sickle cell pain episodes (1571)

Key points below

What is sickle cell pain? 

Sickle cell pain is caused by sickled red blood cells that stick together in the blood vessel.  This blocks the flow of blood which causes pain. It is the most common problem of Sickle Cell disease.  Common areas of pain are the arms, legs, back, chest and stomach (abdomen).  In children under 2 years of age, the hands and feet may hurt and be swollen.

What can be done to prevent the pain?

Drink lots of fluids.  There are some things that may bring on a pain episode.  If you know the cause, there are some things you can do to help prevent pain.

What should be done for sickle cell pain?

What happens in the hospital?


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

  • Pain that does not go away.
  • Special health care needs not covered by this information

If a temperature is 101.5°F (38.6°C) or higher, go to the emergency department right away.  You must be seen within 1 hour.  Be sure to tell the staff that you/your child have 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.