Rheumatic fever is characterized as an inflammatory reaction that arises after a strep throat infection. Most cases of strep throat do not lead to the condition. If one does, the period between the strep throat infection and rheumatic fever is around 2-4 weeks.
This condition is not contagious. In case the strep throat infection is treated, rheumatic fever can be prevented. Remember that anyone can develop the condition, but those between 5-15 years old face the highest risk.
What are the indications?
- Abrupt onset of sore throat
- Pain or difficulty swallowing
- Fever usually 101-104 degrees F
- Abdominal pain, vomiting and nausea especially among children
The symptoms might be minor in some children. If a child develops a sore throat, one cannot know for certain if it is a strep throat unless a doctor is consulted.
How does it affect the body?
Rheumatic fever might affect various body parts. It can involve the heart which results to swollen or scarred heart valves.
The indications tend to differ widely, but might include:
- Tender, painful, reddened swollen joints
- Bumps beneath the skin
- Shortness of breath
- Skin rashes especially on the abdomen or chest
What should I do?
Many children do not need to have limited activities after the acute phase of the ailment. It is best to consult a doctor since this tends to vary from one child to another.
The child might develop the condition again. An antibiotic specifically penicillin should be taken regularly for several years to prevent a recurrence. The antibiotics work by preventing strep throat as well as preventing rheumatic fever.
Individuals with rheumatic heart disease are at risk for ending up with an infection on the impaired heart valves which is called as infective endocarditis. The probability for this issue can be minimized by keeping the teeth regularly clean and ensure that any cavities are filled.
The child might require a dose of antibiotics before undergoing some dental or surgical dealings if they have the following:
- History of endocarditis
- Some congenital heart defects
- Artificial heart valve
- Had undergone a heart transplant procedure and heart valve issues