Recognize the symptoms of rheumatic fever in children and how to handle
Rheumatic fever in children generally occurs at the age of 5 to 15 years. This disease caused by inflammation is a complication of bacterial infection and can be fatal. Therefore, you need to recognize the symptoms and how to deal with them.
Rheumatic fever can cause inflammation in many organs of the body, ranging from the brain, skin, joints, bones, to the heart. Rheumatic fever is classified as a serious condition because if it does not get proper treatment, sufferers can experience more severe health problems or even death.
This is a symptom of rheumatic fever in children
Symptoms of rheumatic fever in children usually appear 2-4 weeks after a child suffers from a sore throat or skin problem due to an untreated bacterial infection. Symptoms of rheumatic fever in children can be:
Fever with temperatures above 38.5 degrees Celsius.
Knee joints, elbows, and ankles and hands are swollen, reddish, painful, and feel warm to the touch.
The body feels weak.
Chest and stomach pain.
The heart beats fast.
It’s hard to breathe.
Freckles, rashes or reddish spots appear on the skin. This patch can look like a red circle around the edge.
The face, body, legs and hands move or jerk alone.
Changes in behavior.
See your doctor immediately if your child experiences the above symptoms. Rheumatic fever that is not immediately treated has the potential to cause several complications, such as brain and nerve disorders, heart valve disease, endocarditis, heart muscle damage, and even heart failure that can cause death.
How to deal with rheumatic fever in children
To determine whether a child has rheumatic fever, a full examination by a doctor is needed which includes physical and supportive examinations, such as blood tests, sputum culture, and echocardiography (cardiac ultrasound). If the diagnosis is confirmed, then treatment for rheumatic fever needs to be given immediately.
Treatment of rheumatic fever in every child is not always the same. In general, doctors will treat rheumatic fever in children based on age, severity of symptoms, and the child’s general health condition.
But basically, the treatment carried out aims to kill bacteria or overcome the remaining infections that cause inflammation, overcome the symptoms of rheumatic fever, and prevent dangerous complications.
The following are some steps to deal with rheumatic fever:
Antibiotics work to kill bacteria that cause inflammation in rheumatic fever. One type of antibiotic commonly used by doctors is penicillin which is given by injection.
After treatment with injectable antibiotics to kill the bacteria is complete, the doctor will also prescribe other types of antibiotics to prevent recurrent infections. This type of antibiotic can be consumed by drinking.
In addition to antibiotics, doctors will prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs (anti-inflammatory) to facilitate the process of inflammation, fever, and pain felt by children with rheumatic fever.
Anti-inflammatory drugs also play a role in preventing heart damage due to rheumatic fever. Examples of these drugs are aspirin and corticosteroids.
Anticonvulsant drug administration
In cases where the child experiences uncontrolled movements or spasms, the doctor will give anticonvulsant drugs. Valproic acid and carbamazepine are examples of anticonvulsant drugs that are often prescribed by doctors.
If you already experience symptoms of a heart problem, your doctor will also provide other medicines, such as diuretics and digoxin, to treat heart problems that occur.
In addition to giving medication from a doctor, you also need to make sure your child has enough rest to speed up recovery. If your child looks very weak and does not want to eat or drink, he may need to be hospitalized to get fluid intake through an IV.
Steps to Prevent Rheumatic Fever
The most effective way to prevent rheumatic fever in children is to treat bacterial infections that cause inflammation. Therefore, check the child to the doctor because the symptoms of bacterial infections begin to appear, such as a sore throat or skin infection, is an important thing to do.
In addition to overcoming the cause, there are some things you also need to consider to prevent rheumatic fever in children, namely:
Take care of children not to come in contact with sick people.
Familiarize children not to share the use of personal items with others, such as cutlery.
Teach and make it a habit for children to wash their hands.
Teach children to always cover their mouths with their hands or handkerchief when he coughs or sneezes.
In addition, do routine checks to the pediatrician according to the specified schedule. This is useful for monitoring children’s health conditions and anticipating the occurrence of rheumatic fever due to bacterial infections.