Rheumatic Fever in Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Rheumatic fever is a disease that can harm the heart, joints, skin, and brain. It can occur after a child has had strep throat that has not been treated. It does not spread to others.

The fever can make your child's joints ache and swell. Your child may have belly pain and a rash or bumps on the skin. Some children develop heart valve problems.

Your child may need to take medicine to reduce pain and swelling. If the heart valves are damaged, he or she will need more treatment.

Your doctor will treat the strep throat with antibiotics. Your child may need to take them from time to time to keep rheumatic fever from coming back.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Make sure your child gets enough rest.
  • Have your child drink plenty of fluids, enough so that his or her urine is light yellow or clear like water. If your child has kidney, heart, or liver disease and has to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids your child drinks.
  • Have your child take medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think your child is having a problem with his or her medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • If the doctor prescribed antibiotics for your child, give them as directed. Do not stop using them just because your child feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Your doctor may prescribe medicine to reduce swelling and inflammation. Your doctor may also recommend that your child take over-the-counter medicines. These include acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for fever. Read and follow all instructions on the label. Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20. It has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness.
  • After your child is better, he or she may need to take antibiotics before some procedures. These include dental work and surgery. Talk to your child's doctor before your child has any procedures or surgery.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has a fever and a sore throat.
  • Your child gets a rough, red rash that feels like sandpaper.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: July 29, 2016