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Rheumatic Fever

Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory ailment which develops as a result of infection by Streptococcus bacteria, for instance, scarlet fever or strep throat (a severe sore throat condition attributable to hemolytic streptococci). Generally, rheumatic fever affects children who are in the age group of four and 18 years. While the strep throat that occurs prior to developing rheumatic fever is infectious, by itself rheumatic fever is not infectious. Instead, the occurrence of rheumatic fever is considered to be a subject of individual vulnerability and it is possible that the illness runs in the patient's family.

People suffering from rheumatic fever are likely to experience symptoms like high body temperature accompanied by redness, arthritic joint pain in more than one joint, generally the knees, ankles, writs and elbows, that may be heated and distended, a smooth and pain-free rash on the trunk as well as extremities that will develop and then disappear, emotional touchiness, emergence of bumps or swellings on the scalp as well as in the joints and/ or the spine, and unmanageable shuddering of the arms and/ or the legs.

The likelihood of having carditis (a tenderness and swelling of the heart tissue) is believed to be the most important menace of developing rheumatic fever. In fact, carditis has the potential to lead to lasting impairment of the heart valves. In addition, carditis may also cause the patient to experience symptoms like breathlessness, coughing or an uneasy sensation in the chest. Nevertheless, in several instances, only a check-up by a physician and medical examinations are able to diagnose carditis. It is important to note that several people suffering from carditis may not even realize that they have been enduring the condition till several years later, when the impairment of the heart valves are actually detected.

Generally, rheumatic fever occurs within seven to 28 days after developing a strep throat and it may take anything between 15 days to three months to cure completely. When a child has been found to be suffering from rheumatic fever, it is essential to treat any ensuing strep infection by Streptococcus bacteria instantly as well as insistently with a view to avoid any further problems.

Supplements and herbs

See age-appropriate dosages of herbal remedies

A number of herbs are effective in treating rheumatic fever. For instance, when you notice the initial signs of rheumatic fever in your child, you may give him/ her Chinese herbal formula called yin qiao. One dose of this herbal preparation should be given thrice every day for three consecutive days immediately when the first symptoms of rheumatic fever appear. It may be noted that the liquid extract is favoured since it does not enclose aspirin. Moreover, you ought to be cautious not to give the tablet form of this herbal formula to children below four years.

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Garlic is an important herb and it possesses antibacterial attributes which are useful in cleansing the body of any type of infection. You may either give your child suffering from rheumatic fever a clove of garlic or garlic capsules thrice daily till the time he/ she recuperates completely.

In addition, a blend of the leaves and root of dandelion, which possess diuretic properties, is known to be effective in purifying the kidneys as well as the liver facilitating in providing relief from rheumatic fever symptoms. Alternately, you may also prepare a paste of the nettle leaves and apply it externally on the joints affected by rheumatic fever as it will help in alleviating pain. Infections can also be combated effectively by inhaling a few drops of eucalyptus oil.

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Homeopathy

Several homeopathic remedies are also effective in treating infections, including rheumatic fever. Efficacy of some of these homeopathic medications in this regard is discussed below.

  • Aconite
    Aconite is effective for treating symptoms such as high fever, parched and hot skin, reddened cheeks and thirst, pains that are worsened when someone touches the affected area, tearing or shooting pain that aggravates at night; reddishness of the burning distended affected areas, an inclination to expose the affected parts and getting relief by doing so. In addition, this homeopathic medication is also useful in treating red, inflamed and parched throat, which are stiff, without any sensation, hurtful, and itching. In addition, Aconite is equally beneficial to people suffering from swollen and dry tonsils.
  • Arnica
    Arnica is a versatile homeopathic remedy and is indicated for individuals suffering from tender, numb and distended joints when affected by any infection, including rheumatic fever. It is also useful in curing symptoms like worsening of the affected parts due to movements; people have a disposition of fear when someone touches the effected parts as well as when they have a feeling of the bed being very stiff while lying down. Arnica is also prescribed to treat intercostal rheumatism (a condition wherein the muscles between the ribs are affected resulting in pain while taking a deep breath and precise motions of the arms), which often promotes pleurisy. In such instances, the condition of the patients aggravates in moist cold weather and they experience a heart problem accompanied by dilation as well as dyspnoea (difficulty in breathing).
    Arnica is generally prescribed to women who suffer from nervous anxiety and real plethoric problems. Such individuals usually have a flushed face and their expression is very vivacious. In addition, this homeopathic remedy is also given to cure the harmful effects occurring from mechanical injuries sustained several years ago.
  • Anacardium
    The homeopathic remedy Anacardium is indicated for rheumatic ailments affecting the pericardium (the membrane sac covering the heart) and restlessness of the heart accompanied by shooting pains around the heart, which follow one another in rapid succession and occasionally spread to the lumbar region. Individuals experience piercing stitches all over the cardiac region and the stitches are often 'doubled' - denoting that one stitch rapidly succeeds another, and subsequently there is a prolonged hiatus.
    Anacardium is also prescribed to people who suffer from a memory loss all of a sudden and feel that all things are like a dream. In such cases, the patient suffers immense troubles regarding his/ her absent-mindedness and since they are always in a confused state of mind, they are not fit for conducting any business. The patients also have a disposition to be malicious and appear to be determined to do evil. Such people also have an overwhelming yearn to avow and curse. They also suffer from absence of self-assurance in them as well as other people. They have a sensation as if they possess two dissimilar wills - one that directs them to do something, while the other prevents them from doing so.
  • Belladona
    Belladona is generally indicated for distended, inflamed, hot and burning joints, especially when the patient becomes extremely sensitive to touching or jarring of the affected areas. In such cases, reddish bands exude from the inflamed joints and the patient suffers from recurring fever accompanied by pain in the region of the neck.
    This homeopathic medication is particularly effective in treating symptoms of the brain. In addition, Belladona is prescribed to people experiencing dry throat having a burning sensation; a congestion that seems to be irritated and with aggravation in the right side. In such cases, patients also suffer from distended tonsils, constricted throats, problems in swallowing, which deteriorate while ingesting liquids. The patients also have a feeling as if there is a lump in the throat and the oesophagus is parched with a constricted feeling. They experience seizures in the throat with continuous disposition to swallow food accompanied by a scrapping sensation. The muscles of the throat become extremely sensitive and they suffer from an abnormal enlargement (hypertrophy) of the mucus membrane.
    Belladona is most suitable for people whose constitution is plethoric, bilious and lymphatic. In addition, it works best in people who are energetic as well as pleasurable, but become aggressive and generally hallucinating when they are ill.
  • Bryonia
    Bryonia is an ideal homeopathic remedy for piercing, shooting or stretching pains and is also effective for treating pains that shift from one part of the body to another affecting the muscles instead of the bones - some of the symptoms of rheumatic fever. This homeopathic medication is helpful in curing flushed and burning distensions as well as firmness of the affected body parts, which aggravate during the night as well as when the patient makes any movement; excessive heat accompanied by headache and stomach upset, excessive sweating and quivering and chilliness; and crankiness as well as irritability. It is given to patients usually having parched, constricted and scraped throat and having difficulty in swallowing. Bryonia is effective for healing congealed mucus in the trachea and larynx that unwinds only when the patient makes a lot of effort to clear the phlegm (hawking) - such conditions usually aggravate as the patient enters a warm room.
    Bryonia is most appropriate for individuals who have a disposition to suffering from gout or rheumatism and are also vulnerable to supposed excessive bile secretion (bilious attack). Patient who require this homeopathic medicine most are usually bad-tempered, disposed to be passionate and irritated, have a dark complexion, dark or black hair and solid muscular character. In addition, such people are generally thin and are nervous.
  • Drosera
    The homeopathic medication Drosera is effective in treating coldness inside the body, trembling accompanied by a hot face and cold hands, while the patient does not have any urge for drinking fluids. Such patients are generally cold all the time, even when they are in bed. Drosera is useful in healing biting and piercing pains in the shaft of the long bones, thighs, arms and legs, accompanied by acute stitches in the affected joints - most common symptoms of rheumatic fever. In such cases, the ankle bones of the patients are especially affected and they have a sensation like the pains are displaced and intense rigidness. They also have a feeling that their bed is extremely stiff or hard. Such patients also quiver when they are resting and there is no shivering when they are in motion. They also suffer from shivering caused by fever throughout their body accompanied by hot face, but chilly hands.
  • Eupatorium perf.
    The homeopathic remedy Eupatorium perf. is beneficial for people who have a feeling that their bone is bruised and dislocated, as if the bones are broken. It is indicated for rheumatism accompanied by profuse sweating and tenderness of the bones. Such patients may also have high fevers and feel cold resulting in a great deal of shuddering. The patients especially endure affected joints, shoulder, elbow, and hip, the inner part of the knees, foot as well as the big toe. It has been found that the pains aggravate between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. In such circumstances, the patients generally desire to remain still in some position, but it is essential for them to move.
  • Ferrum phos.
    Ferrum phos. is given to patients who suffer from severe rheumatism of the joints, also known as articular rheumatism. In such cases, the patients experience attack on one joint after another and the joints become swollen, somewhat reddened and suffer from very high fever. The joints may become inflamed, distended as well as extremely sensitive. The condition of the patients aggravates from the least movement. The throat as well as the mouth are heated, are inflamed and turn reddish. In addition, the throat is ulcerated, while the tonsils become red and enlarged. Even the Eustachian tube (the tube that connects the pharynx to the middle ear) becomes sore and swollen, while they suffer from the symptom known as 'sore throat of singers'. In addition, the condition of the laryngitis becomes almost acute accompanied by inflamed fauces and redness. Ferrum phos. is also prescribed to patients who have undergone recent throat and/ or nose surgeries with a view to control haemorrhage as well as to ease the pain.
  • Gelsemium
    Gelsemium is an ideal homeopathic remedy for rheumatic pains accompanied by heaviness as well as loss of strength in the limbs and shivering. In such cases, the patients experience a feeling as though they should always be mobile, otherwise the heart would stop functioning. They suffer from high fever, while having a chilly sensation along the back. Normally, such ailments start developing during warm weather conditions. The patients tremble so much, that they ought to be held or supported by someone. While the pulse is dawdling, complete, soft and compressible, they experience chilliness both up and down their back. Their body temperature rises significantly and they begin to sweat profusely and are always tired or exhausted.
    Patients who require gelsemium suffer from an unusual form of malarial fever, without the usual coldness (dumb-ague) accompanied by great muscular tenderness, intense prostration and a fierce headache. Such patients also endure nervous chills. They have bilious remittent fever, which improves and then worsens, accompanied by a state of unconsciousness, giddiness and light-headedness as well as a lack of thirst. They become exhausted and powerless easily and are prostrated. Apart from having a nervous frenzied disposition, such patients have a chilly sensation and do not have any desire for taking any liquid. All these symptoms are accompanied with a wave-like pain that spreads upward from the sacrum to occiput (the rear portion of the skull).
  • Rhus tox.
    In homeopathy, Rhus tox. is indicated for irregular pulse, which is usually faster, but feeble, flexible and at times it cannot be felt or is alternating or sporadic. During the evenings, such patients usually experience quivering and coldness, which are accompanied by outbursts of pain as well as different added symptoms. Although they feel coldness all over the skin, they do not have any problem in being exposed to cold air. When exposed to the open air, these patients experience quivering and shaking accompanied by aggressive thirst. They also experience chest pain, which is frequently rheumatic, and this pain aggravates when the patient makes use of the arms, for instance, to sweep or make a bed.
    While they are resting, the patients have a rheumatic, drawing and tearing pain in the limbs, while their hands and feet remain extremely cold throughout the day. People requiring Rhus tox. suffer from tearing, shining or twisting pains; reddish, burning distended joints accompanied by firmness and piercing pains when the affected areas are touched, a feeling of debility, exhaustion and swarming in the affected limbs, and pains that aggravate while they are resting and also in cold, moist weather conditions.
    People who respond to Rhus tox. most effectively are those who suffer from rheumatic conditions; are susceptible to adverse effects when they get drenched, particularly following an over-heating phase.

Additional things you may do

In addition to using herbs, supplements and homeopathic medications, there are a number of other things that you can do to treat your child, who is suffering from rheumatic fever and strep throat infections. The best possible means to prevent developing rheumatic fever is continuously examining your children to find out if they are suffering from tender throats and getting them treated immediately for their health condition and associated symptoms. It is important to note that one should not overlook any type of infection, particularly strep throat or scarlet fever as these have the potential to result in rheumatic fever. You may give your child or any one suffering from these infections foods that have high vitamin C content as this would facilitate in reinforcing their immune system. At the same time, it is advisable that people suffering from these infections should drink lots of water since it helps in cleansing the bacteria that are accountable for the ailments.

Another effective way to combat germs that spread infection is to gargle with warm saline water regularly. An individual suffering from rheumatic fever or strep throat ought to keep away from taking sour foods as well as fried and oily foodstuff, since they have an aptitude to worsen the condition. Such patients should also keep away from taking beverages containing caffeine, soft drinks as well as processed foods, and salt. It may be noted that bioflavonoids are particularly helpful in the prevention as well as treatment of rheumatic fever. At the same time, it is important for the patients to take adequate bed rest. While they are lying in bed, giving them gentle exercises and mild massages may also prove to be effective in treating the ailment. Later, when the patient has been completely cured, he/ she may undertake a planned massage schedule with a view to regain the lost vitality and make them stronger as before.

Patients suffering from rheumatic fever should also be given nourishing food, while restricting the amount of salt. It would be helpful if they are put on a diet comprising of water, fresh fruits, and vegetable juice.

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