Blood conditions

anemia (uh-NEE-mee-uh)
What it is: A blood condition in which the body doesn’t have enough red blood cells (part of the blood that brings oxygen to different parts of the body) or the red blood cells are too small. Babies born too early often have anemia.

Treatment: Treatment includes giving the baby iron supplements (a product that can make up for certain nutrients that you don’t get enough of in the foods you eat) and medicines that help her make more red blood cells. If the anemia is really serious, the baby may need a blood transfusion. A blood transfusion means having new blood put into a baby’s body.

sickle cell disease (SIK-uhl sel duh-ZEEZ)
What it is: Also called SCD. A genetic disease that causes red blood cells to be shaped like a “C.” Red blood cells are the part of blood that brings oxygen to different parts of the body. In a healthy person, red blood cells are round and flexible. They flow easily in the blood. A person with SCD has red blood cells that are stiff and can block blood flow. This can cause pain, infection (an illness caused by some viruses, bacteria or other germs), organ damage and strokes (when blood supply to part of the brain is interrupted or reduced).

Treatment: All babies have a newborn screening test for SCD. Newborn screening checks for serious but rare and mostly treatable conditions at birth. It includes blood, hearing and heart screening. There is no one best treatment for babies with SCD. Some babies with SCD are mostly healthy, and others nee special medical care. Treatment is different for each baby depending on her symptoms. She may be treated with pain medicine and antibiotics (medicines that kill infections caused by bacteria). She may need a blood transfusion to put new blood into her body.