Rheumatic fever is a medical condition that mostly appears in children. The fever is mostly associated with strep throat complications. It is a condition is caused by a group of A Streptococcus bacteria. Mostly, kids between 5 to 15 years are the most vulnerable to rheumatic fever. But this does not mean that adults are spared from the fever since they can also get infected, but it happens rarely.
Rheumatic fever is relatively serious but if not managed on time, it can cause severe health complication like heart damage or even death.
Rheumatic fever Drugs
- sulfadiazine or
- Valproic acid
Rheumatic fever Symptoms
There are many symptoms that are associated with rheumatic fever. The symptoms will continue increasing as the fever grows and thus you must be very observant to identify the condition at the very first stages for easy control. Some of the early symptoms may be confused with the common cold, but a physician can easily identify the condition especially when rashes and nodules appear on the skin. These are some of the main symptoms:
- Hot, red and swollen joints
- Pounding chest
- Painful joints in the wrists, knees, ankles and elbows
- Nose bleeding
- Short attention span
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble swallowing
- Sore throat
Rheumatic fever Causes
There are many ways through which one can contact rheumatic fever. It is a bacterial infection, and the fact that bacteria can be transferred from one person to another makes it contagious. Rheumatic fever is caused by a bacterium known as Streptococcus pyogenes or group A streptococcus.
The bacterium causes strep throat or scarlet fever that triggers the rheumatic fever. But if a group A streptococcus infection is on the skin, it will rarely trigger this fever. But from the scientific point of view, the condition is not caused by the bacteria itself but the patient’s immune system response to the bacteria.
These are the main group A streptococcus infections causing of rheumatic fever:
- Strep throat or strep bacteria
- Scarlet fever
Rheumatic fever Diagnosis
To diagnose this condition, the doctor will first go for the patient’s medical history. This will be the basis for diagnosis since it will show if the patient had a recent bout of strep bacteria attack or strep throat. What will follow is a series of physical exams that includes the following:
- Listening to heartbeat to check any abnormal behavior.
- Check of joint inflammation
- Laboratory tests- blood test for bacteria (strep bacteria)
- Echocardiography for heart image
- Testing nervous system dysfunction by movement
- Looking for skin rashes
With these diagnoses, it will be easy to determine the stage that the rheumatic fever is in and the best treatment.
Rheumatic fever Treatment
If you are diagnosed with rheumatic fever, immediate treatment program or fever controlled must be initiated. Since rheumatic fever is a bacterial infection, the use of the antibiotics will be the perfect treatment for this condition. These are some of the common treatments for rheumatic fever.
- Antibiotics- the fever is mostly caused by strep bacteria thus use of antibiotics will be very effective in treating this fever. Drugs like the penicillin are one of the common antibiotics that are prescribed for this condition. After the full antibiotic dose is completed, the doctor will prescribe another dose to prevent recurrence.
- Anti-inflammatory treatment- this treatment will help in relieving pain and also reducing the inflammation and fever. Anaprox, Naprosyn, prednisone are some of the anti-inflammatory treatments.
- Anticonvulsant medications- if the rheumatic fever is associated with involuntary severe Sydenham chorea movements, you might be prescribed to valproic acid, carbatrol, equetro and other drugs.