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What is the Most Common Rheumatic Fever Treatment?

By Marlene Garcia
Updated May 17, 2024
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Rheumatic fever treatment involves the use of antibiotics to kill streptococcus bacteria that precipitate the illness. Penicillin is the most common drug prescribed for rheumatic fever treatment. Patients also commonly take aspirin to control inflammation, and steroids to reduce joint pain and swelling. For those with repeated bouts of the illness, antibiotics might be prescribed as a long-term rheumatic fever treatment to prevent re-occurrence.

Early diagnosis and treatment of strep throat or scarlet fever may prevent rheumatic fever from developing. Strep throat produces a sore throat that typically appears inflamed. There may be white spots on the tonsils when strep throat is causing illness.

If the bacterium spreads, it can lead to serious heart problems when heart valves are damaged. If permanent heart damage occurs, rheumatic heart disease or heart failure is possible. Rheumatic fever can also affect the brain.

Acute rheumatic fever treatment involves lifelong doses of antibiotics to ward off another episode. This tactic is most important in the three to five years after the initial outbreak of the disease. Rheumatic fever is seen worldwide but is rare in the United States, with the last outbreak occurring in the 1980s.

Children between five and 15 years old are most susceptible to the condition. About half of those who do not seek early rheumatic fever treatment suffer inflammation of the heart. Arthritis might also develop, along with jerky movements that cannot be controlled, especially in the hands, feet, and face. An irregular heartbeat is often one of the first signs of the disease.

Doctors routinely conduct several tests to determine if a patient suffers from rheumatic fever. The physician may test blood, look for skin rashes on the torso and limbs, and evaluate the patient's heart to detect inflammation that causes murmurs. Other symptoms include nosebleeds, difficulty breathing, and abdominal pain. A medical history is helpful because some people afflicted with the condition do not exhibit all the signs.

Symptoms of scarlet fever commonly mimic strep throat, but scarlet fever produces a rash that begins on the chest and neck, and then spreads to other parts of the body. The rash has a rough feeling to it, and may last two to three weeks. Scarlet fever treatment is the same as rheumatic fever treatment, with antibiotics used to kill the streptococcus bacteria.

Along with antibiotics and aspirin, bed rest is usually recommended as a rheumatic fever treatment to help the patient's body fight the disease. There is no known cure for rheumatic fever. A severe sore throat accompanied by joint pain and fever is a signal to consult a doctor for treatment.

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