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Hemophilia Factsheet (for Schools)

What Teachers Should Know

Hemophilia is a genetic disorder that prevents blood from clotting properly. People with hemophilia may bruise and bleed easily, and they may bleed a lot or for a long time after an injury. Bleeding can occur anywhere in the body, including in the joints, muscles, brain, or digestive tract. Some people have mild hemophilia, some moderate, and some more severe.

Hemophilia is rare and affects mostly males: Only about 1 in every 5,000 to 10,000 boys are born with it. In rare cases, girls are born with the disease. Hemophilia can affect people of any race or nationality.

Symptoms of hemophilia include:

  • bruises that are unusual in location or number
  • nosebleeds that won't stop
  • excessive bleeding from cuts, injuries, or after surgery
  • painful or swollen joints
  • blood in the urine or stool
  • abnormal menstrual bleeding

Students with hemophilia may:

  • need to go to the school nurse for medications or to check bruises, cuts, or bleeding
  • miss class time and assignments due to doctor appointments
  • have a port implanted in their chest for infusions
  • wear a helmet and other protective equipment
  • require adaptations to the classroom environment
  • feel embarrassed or overwhelmed about their medical condition

What Teachers Can Do

Any injury to a student with hemophilia, especially to the head, should be treated as an emergency — get medical assistance immediately. Make sure your students with hemophilia have individualized care plans and be prepared to respond in accordance with the plan.

Allow assignments and class work to be made up at home in cases of absences or missed class time. In some cases, homebound instruction or tutoring might be appropriate.

Exercise is important for kids and teens with hemophilia because it makes their muscles stronger, which protects the joints. Contact sports are not safe, but students can participate in a variety of activities. Discuss with your students' parents which physical activities are allowed and which are off limits.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date Reviewed: 19-08-2016

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