I got a question from a reader in Egypt that loves to swim but has a painful episode after each swimming session.
For sickle cell warriors, my advice is not to swim in cold water. The main thing about swimming is that it drops your core body temperature, increasing the work load of your circulatory system to keep your internal temperature in a good range. In addition, you are probably decreasing your oxygen saturation with the exertion. If you go scuba diving or into the deep sea, the atmospheric pressure underwater drops and this decreases the ability of your hemoglobin to hang on to oxygen—all in all not a good recipe for a sickle cell survivor. In fact it’s a direct trip to pain city, not passing go.
There are alot of people that just love the water, my guy is one of them. He’s most comfortable when he’s wet and just loves anything related to water. My suggestion is to try a heated pool, jacuzzi or swimming when it’s warmer. Besides that I recommend the usual, hydration, taking your pain meds and avoiding stress. Personally I don’t swim anymore, it’s just too painful. If I must I wade in the water, but only for a short period of time and then I’m back on the beach warming up.
Milan told me she got invited to the beach and had to make excuses why she couldn’t go. Personally I love to frolic on the beach, watching people, playing games, having a great time and enjoying the sun. So don’t let sickle cell limit your life to that extent, go to the beach, just know your limitations regarding the water.