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Rheumatic Fever in Kids - How It Impacts Your Child?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Ravi Yadav 87% (24 ratings)
M.D(Pediatrics), MBBS
Pediatrician, Rewari  •  11 years experience
Rheumatic Fever in Kids - How It Impacts Your Child?

Rheumatic fever is a kind of autoimmune ailment that can occur as a result of group A streptococcal throat infection leading to inflammatory lesions in the connective tissues of the body. This disease specifically affects the joints, heart, blood vessels and various subcutaneous tissues located all over the body.

History of the effects of rheumatic fever:
The disease has been evaluated and depicted since the 1500s, though the connection between the rheumatic fever, and the throat infection was not found out until it was late 1880s. And the sore throat was also related to the rash, which is caused by streptococcal exotoxins, along with fever. Rheumatic fever was one of the leading causes of deaths in children as well as one of most common reasons behind the acquired heart diseases in adults before the invention and availability of penicillin.

Reasons behind the causes of rheumatic fever:
Even though adolescents and adults may be affected by the rheumatic fever, it mostly affects children aged between 5 to 15 years. It is a common disease in areas like South-Central Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and several parts of New Zealand and Australia. Group A streptococcus bacterium is the primary cause of this fever, and it also leads to scarlet fever in some people. It makes the body attack its own tissues once it has been attacked by the bacteria. This particular reaction leads to widespread inflammation throughout the body and forms the basis of all the common symptoms of the rheumatic fever.

You may have to take your child for the strep test if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  1. A sore throat and red rashes all across or in certain parts of the body.
  2. If your child has tender or swollen lymph nodes that are causing difficulty in swallowing.
  3. Tonsils that are filled with pus or red and swollen.

Harmful impacts of the rheumatic fever:

Developed mostly due to strep throat infection, it can affect the heart, skin, joints and nervous system of children. Though it may not affect all who have gone through a strep throat infection, it can lead to long-term diseases of the heart and its valves and is termed as a rheumatic heart disease. Since each attack of rheumatic fever may cause further damage to the heart, it is very crucial to make sure that your child doesn’t have one more attack of the fever, and it is therefore, important to have regular doses of penicillin injections and consult a specialist for receiving further advice on treatments and prevention.

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