If your child develops rheumatic fever, your GP will refer them to a p aediatrician .
Asrheumatic fever is very rare in England, they may also be referred to a doctor with experience of treating the condition, so a treatment plan can be drawn up.
This may involve visiting a hospital or specialist clinic in one of the larger cities in England.
Most people with rheumatic fever are well enough to be treated at home, but regular hospital visits may be needed so the person's heart can be closely monitored.
There's currently no cure for rheumatic fever, but you can take steps to ensure your child feels as comfortable as possible and reduce the risk of serious complications. For example, it's possible to:
Anti-inflammatory medications can be used to relieve symptoms of joint pain, swelling ( arthritis ) and, in severe cases, reduce inflammation of the heart.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) , which include painkillers such as ibuprofen, are commonly used to relieve arthritis.
The use of aspirin isn't usually recommended in children under the age of 16 because there's a small risk of it causing Reye's syndrome , a potentially fatal condition that can lead toliver and brain damage.
However, an exception is often made for rheumatic fever because most children only need to take a low-dose aspirin for one to two weeks, and it has proved very successful in relieving symptoms. Most healthcare professionals believe the benefits of using aspirin to treat rheumatic fever far outweigh the risks.
If electrocardiogram (ECG) results show inflammation of the heart, a type of steroid medication called prednisolone will usually be recommended.
Prednisolone is usually given in tablet form as a course lasting two to six weeks. Side effects include headache, dizziness, problems sleeping and weight gain. These side effects should pass once the course is finished.
It's important to get rid of any streptococcus bacteria left in your child's body from the infection. It's also important to prevent any streptococcus bacteria picked up after the initial infection settling in the throat and causing another streptococcal throat infection. This is because further throat infections may lead to another episode of rheumatic fever.
Repeated episodes of rheumatic fever increase therisk of causing permanent heart damage. Antibiotic injections(intravenous or intramuscular) every two to three weeks over the course of many years are usually recommended.
The current recommendations state that if your child:
It's very important that your child doesn't miss an antibiotic injection. If they do, you must arrange for them to get the next injection as soon as possible.
Remember to tell your doctor or nurse if your child is going overseas, on holiday, away for a while, or you're moving house. The doctor or nurse will be able to arrange ongoing treatment for your child.
Your child should never stop antibiotic treatment without discussing it first with your doctor.
With proper care and regular antibiotic injections, most children with rheumatic fever are able to lead a normal life.
The important thing is to make sure your child never has another attack of rheumatic fever. The only way to do this is to make sure they have their regular antibiotic injections.
Plenty of bed rest is recommended because it will help reduce the strain on the heart and ease some of the symptoms, such as shortness of breath and persistent tiredness.
Your child can slowly start to increase their activity levels as theybegin to recover. The doctor in charge of your childs care will be able to make more detailed recommendations.
If your child has episodes of Sydenham chorea (uncontrollable physical jerking and emotional outbursts), moving them into a calm, quiet environment, such as a darkened bedroom, can help improve their symptoms.
Medication may be recommended if the episodes are severe. Medicines originally designed to treat epilepsy, such as carbamazepine and valproic acid, are usually effective in treating Sydenham chorea.
However, if the dose is too high, these medicines can cause side effects similar to being drunk, including dizziness, double vision and vomiting.
If your child experiences any of these symptoms, contact the doctor in charge of their care so that their dosage can be revised.
Rheumatic fever (RF) is an inflammatory disease that can involve the heart, joints, skin, and brain. The disease typically develops two to four weeks after a streptococcal throat infection.
The symptoms of rheumatic fever usually develop one to five weeks after a streptococcal throat infection, including arthritis, heart inflammation (carditis) and Sydenham chorea, which causes inflammation of the nerves.
The main cause for this disease is the beta-haemolytic Streptococcus of group A, which is found in common infectious sites such as the mouth; in dental granulomas, dental abscesses, paradontosis, and other infections such as chronic tonsillitis.
Rheumatic fever can cause many different symptoms, hence a type of checklist known as the "Jones Criteria" is used to help diagnose it. The major signs and symptoms are: inflammation of the heart (carditis) with symptoms such as shortness of breath and chest pain; pain and swelling (arthritis) affecting multiple joints; jerky involuntary body movements and emotional outbursts ( Sydenham's chorea); a painless, non-itchy skin rash (erythema marginatum); bumps or lumps that develop underneath the skin.
Asrheumatic fever is very rare, you may also be referred to a doctor with experience of treating the condition, so a treatment plan can be drawn up. This may involve visiting a hospital or specialist clinic in the area. Rheumatic fever is treated including using anti-inflammatory medications, antibiotics and plenty of bed rest.
Rheumatic heart disease is a common and potentially serious complication that can occur in cases of rheumatic fever. In rheumatic heart disease, inflammation causes the heart's valves to become damaged and stiffened, disrupting the normal flow of blood through the heart.