Always have your regular penicillin injections
The most important thing to know if you have had rheumatic fever is that you must have regular penicillin injections to prevent getting rheumatic heart disease.
The best way to stop another episode of rheumatic fever is to have regular penicillin injections. This will be prescribed by the doctor and is likely to be
- every 28 days for 10 years or until a person is 21 years old
- given in the thigh or bottom
- the injection can be painful for some but in time it becomes easier to deal with
- are given by an aboriginal health worker, nurse or doctor
Tell your dentist you have had rheumatic fever or rheumatic heart disease
Dentists need to know if a person has a history of rheumatic fever or has rheumatic heart disease.
Suffering rheumatic fever in the past increases the risk of developing bacterial endocarditis after a dental procedure.
If a dentist is aware of this they will give a course of preventive antibiotics, before any procedure that involves gum bleeding e.g. professional cleaning, extraction, injections.
Look after your mouth and gums. This is important because germs can get in through unhealthy mouths which can cause (further) damage to your heart, called endocarditis. Please brush a couple of times a day and visit the dentist at least once a year.
You can lead a normal life
With proper care and regular penicillin injections, most children with rheumatic fever lead a normal life.