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Haemophilia

Haemophilia

The following information is extracted from booklets published by the Haemophilia Society.

What is Haemophilia?
The general term haemophilia describes a group of inherited blood disorders in which there is a life-long defect in the clotting mechanism of the blood. A person with haemophilia does not bleed more profusely or bleed faster than normal - he simply bleeds longer.

Parents will tell you who should be contacted in the event of a bleed and give you general information of the child's condition.

Children at School
Up to the age of 11 boys and girls should be encouraged to participate in most physical activities unless otherwise advised by their parents or doctors. However, head contact sports such as rugby, boxing, judo and karate are not advisable. Hockey may also be better avoided. Football may not be harmful but for children with severe haemophilia, it may not be advisable to encourage an interest in joining a school football team, as the school has to take responsibility for injury.

Other sports should be encouraged. Swimming and gymnastics can help develop muscle power and tone which can be of positive benefit by making joints more stable.

If there is any doubt about the advisability of any child undertaking a particular sport, it is sensible to ask the parents' or doctor's advice.

Children can explain to their peers, if they wish, what living with a bleeding disorder means to them. It is not necessary for the school to inform other children about a child's bleeding disorder.

In rare and exceptional circumstances a child with a severe condition may need to have a statement of needs issued. Haemophilia in its own right does not justify this, but a complication of the disorder may justify it.

What to do in the event of a bleed
There is no need to panic. The sooner a bleed can be treated, the less likelihood there is of damage.

In most cases, minor cuts and scratches do not pose any problems for a person with haemophilia. A firmly applied plaster should stop the bleeding. Pressing over the plaster with the finger for two to four minutes will help if bleeding appears excessive.

Blood from anyone should be regarded as potentially infectious, and gloves should be worn when dealing with open cuts.

Dressings should be applied as normal. If bleeding does not stop after 10 - 15 minutes, the child's parents or guardians should be contacted. Cuts that are big enough to require stitches will call for hospital treatment in any case.

Emergencies
Certain situations do constitute an emergency:

• Any major injury such as a broken bone or a severe cut.
• Head injury - a severe blow to the head may trigger internal bleeding especially if the blow causes headache, nausea or giddiness.
• Any sudden sever pain, e.g. an abdominal pain or headache.
• Bleeding into the back of the mouth or under the tongue.

Should any of these occur, the child's parents or guardians should be contacted and arrangements made to take the child to the Haemophilia Centre immediately.

School Trips
No child should be prevented from going on a school trip because of a bleeding disorder. For a severely affected child, arrangements can be made for a prophylactic injection beforehand. Discuss any worries with parents before the outing takes place.

Special Note: Aspirin should never be given to a child with a bleeding disorder.

To obtain a copy of the booklet 'Haemophilia and School', or information on all aspects of haemophilia, contact: The Haemophilia Society

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