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.