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What People With Sickle Cell Disease Need to Know About COVID-19


People with sickle cell disease are at increased risk for severe complications from COVID-19, an expert says.

“Many patients experience a pain crisis, also known as a vaso-occlusive crisis, early in COVID-19 infection before respiratory symptoms develop,” said Dr. Jennie Hart, clinical director of pediatric hematology/oncology at Herman and Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai in Baltimore.

COVID-19 can cause severe inflammation and lung injury. And that can have a greater impact on people with sickle cell disease, a group of inherited red blood cell disorders, Hart said.

People with the disease, which most commonly affects black people, have misshapen red cells that can get stuck and clog blood flow, inhibiting oxygen delivery, damaging blood vessels and causing inflammation.

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