Inflammation or swelling in the skin, heart, joints, or central nervous system causes the symptoms of rheumatic fever. There could be one or several signs. As the disease progresses, symptoms may change. Rheumatic fever typically starts two to four weeks after the strep throat infection.
- Painful and tender joints
- Pain migrating to another joint
- Red, hot or swollen joints
- Chest pain
- Flat or slightly raised, painless rash
- Heart murmur
- Jerky, uncontrollable body movements (Sydenham chorea)
- Small, painless bumps beneath the skin
- Outbursts of unusual behavior, like sudden crying or inappropriate laughing
A bacterial throat or skin infection leads to rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever usually does not develop in infected individuals.
It isn’t the bacteria that causes it; your immune system attacks healthy tissue to combat the infection.
The cause of your immune system’s sudden malfunction is unknown. However, you might be more likely to develop rheumatic fever due to your genes.
If you have rheumatic fever, you will receive treatment to reduce your symptoms and inflammation.
You may require the following:
- Painkillers you take as tablets, capsules, or a liquid
- Steroid injections if your pain is severe
- Medications if your movements are jerky or uncontrollable
You’ll recover more quickly if you get lots of rest in bed.
If you had rheumatic fever once, it’s likely to reoccur, so treat sore throats early as possible.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD
Page last reviewed: 04 October 2022