|How Is It Treated?
Diagnosis of this disease is not straightforward. A recent strep throat infection and the presence of Acute Rheumatic Fever symptoms are the main indicators. The best way to avoid the disease is to treat strep throat infections promptly, especially in the cases of children and people who live in crowded conditions.
Treatment of a patient with acute rheumatic fever starts with eradicating the streptococcus from the site of infection with appropriate antibiotics. The inflammation of Rheumatic Fever may be effectively treated with aspirin or other anti-inflammatory medications. In addition, steroids may be prescribed. Bed rest is recommended for the duration of the illness.
Individuals who have had an attack of rheumatic fever are at high risk for recurrence of the disease. Long term treatment with antibiotics is aimed at preventing recurrences of rheumatic fever by preventing recurrent streptococcal infections. This is usually achieved with daily oral penicillin or monthly shots of penicillin.
Because of the risk of damage to the heart's valves, which may not become evident until years later, it is important to undergo regular medical examinations. The highest risk of occurrence is during the first 5 years after the initial infection.
If there has been damage to the heart valves, the lifelong taking of antibiotics may be necessary, with additional antibiotics (antibiotic prophylaxis) before invasive medical or dental procedures.