Sickle Cell Disease

1 in 625 African-Americans are born with sickle cell anemia. Disease symptoms include paleness in the skin and lips.

As a parent, hearing your child has sickle cell disease can be overwhelming. But with early diagnosis, progressive treatment, and regular follow-up care, Nemours' board-certified pediatric hematologists — doctors who treat blood disorders — can help your child manage sickle cell anemia symptoms and live an active and productive life.

Read More About Sickle Cell Disease

Sickle cell disease or sickle cell anemia is a genetically inherited blood disorder, detected through a blood test. The disease is passed down from both parents who carry an altered hemoglobin gene, which causes their red blood cells to take on an abnormal (sickle) shape rather than the normal, smooth disc shape.


Nemours Children's Clinic, Pensacola

5153 N. Ninth Ave.
Pensacola, FL 32504
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For Appointments: (850) 505-4700

Hours: Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Central Time)
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What to Bring
  • photo ID
  • medical and pharmacy insurance cards
  • preferred pharmacy name and phone number
  • names and dosage of all medications, including over-the-counter medication, your child is currently taking
  • guardianship and custody papers, if a legal guardian rather than a parent accompanies your child
New Patients

Bring these forms for your first appointment:

Returning Patients
Hematology Department Form
Returning Patients
Forms & Resources
Hematology Department Form
Returning Patient Forms
Resources for Patients & Families
Helpful Handouts & Support Information
Information on Sickle Cell Disease
Support Groups for Children With Sickle Cell Disease
For Overnight Stays
  • Ronald McDonald House of Northwest Florida: Located near Nemours Children’s Clinic, Pensacola and Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital, this family-centered home away from home is available to families whose child needs to be hospitalized for treatment

When your child is diagnosed with sickle cell disease, your immediate concern is getting the best care available. At Nemours, that’s our concern, too. Our pediatric hematology experts — doctors who treat blood disorders in children — will use the latest advancements and sickle cell anemia treatment available to care for your child.  

As the only health care provider with pediatric hematology/oncology specialty services in the Gulf Coast and Florida Panhandle, our specialists have the experience to care for your child. Every day, we help families like yours throughout the course of your child’s care, providing the resources and education you need to feel well-prepared for your child’s ongoing treatment.

What is Sickle Cell Disease?

Sickle cell disease is a genetic disorder in which abnormally shaped red blood cells — that look like the letter “C” — get stuck and prevent oxygen from flowing through blood vessels in your child’s body. When this happens, it causes a lot of pain for children diagnosed with sickle cell disease, and can be harmful to other organs and tissues.

Children diagnosed with sickle cell disease, inherited a sickle cell gene from both parents. However, if a child only inherits one gene, the child will not have the disease, but will carry the sickle cell trait.

Diagnosing Children With Sickle Cell Disease

Florida, like most states, requires newborn screening — a simple blood test — for sickle cell disease. When your child’s hemoglobin is abnormal, you and your newborn child will be referred to the Nemours Sickle Cell Program where our pediatric hematology specialists will begin the process of caring for your child.

Our experts will:
  • confirm the results from the newborn screening with a hemoglobin electrophoresis blood test
  • provide education and introduction to our services and ongoing comprehensive care
Your Child’s Sickle Cell Disease Care Team

At Nemours, our goal is to make sure you and your child can successfully cope with living with a chronic condition like sickle cell disease.

Our team of experts, are dedicated to helping your child manage the symptoms of sickle cell anemia and includes:
  • board-certified pediatric hematologists
  • nurses
  • a dedicated hematology nurse coordinator
  • psychosocial support
  • licensed clinical social workers
  • blood bank personnel
  • Child Life specialists from Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital
  • other Nemours specialists as needed
Caring For Children With Sickle Cell Disease

Most children with sickle cell disease symptoms include chronic pain in the legs, arms, chest and abdomen. These symptoms occur when sickle cells block the flow of blood through the vessels within the body.

Once your child is diagnosed with sickle cell disease, your child should be seen by one of our sickle cell disease experts every 2 to 3 months until age 2. After age 2, frequency of visits depends on your child’s or your family’s needs, but at least annually thereafter.

Sickle Cell Anemia Treatment For Children

Newborn children diagnosed with sickle cell disease will begin taking penicillin to help prevent infection, and a daily supplement of folic acid.

Depending on your child’s condition, other sickle cell anemia treatment may include:
  • antibiotics
  • hospitalization
  • pain management
  • intravenous fluids (IV)
  • blood transfusion
  • surgery
Our sickle cell disease experts also will provide your family with resources and education about your child’s care and treatment such as:
  • chronic transfusion protocol: regular blood transfusions to prevent strokes
  • the availability of research studies on sickle cell disease when pertinent  
  • transition to adulthood concentration
  • resources about family support groups and community programming