Most people have experienced a sore throat and never think it can be a serious disease that can be life-threatening. The sore throat or Pharyngitis is an inflammation disease of the throat (between tonsils and larynx). The etiology of sore throat is usually infectious, with most cases being of viral origin and most bacterial cases attributable to group A streptococci (GAS). Other causes include allergy, trauma, toxins, and neoplasia. 

Sore Throat can be Deadly
Sore Throat
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How Sore Throat can be deadly

The sore throat caused by group A streptococci bacteria is called Strep Throat. If Strep throat is not treated properly, it can cause complications called Rheumatic Fever. Rheumatic Fever leads to more severe conditions, even death.

What is Rheumatic Fever?

Rheumatic Fever is an inflammatory disease due to an immune reaction against the bacterium group A streptococci. This disease usually occurs 2-3 weeks after an acute respiratory infection. So, this disease is also called Acute Rheumatic Fever.

Although anyone can experience it, rheumatic Fever tends to affect children aged 5 to 15 years. Rheumatic Fever can cause inflammation in organs, ranging from the brain, skin, joints, bones to the heart.

Symptoms of Rheumatic Fever

Symptoms of Acute Rheumatic Fever generally appear 2 to 4 weeks after suffering from untreated strep throat. People with rheumatic fever often complain of several symptoms, such as:

Body:  - Fever.
            - Fatigue and Lethargy
            - Outbursts of crying or inappropriate laughter suddenly
Skin:   - Reddish rash.
            - Small, painless nodules under the skin
Joints:  - Swollen, painful, or sore joints in the wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles
            - Pain in one joint that moves to another joint
Chest: - Palpitations.
            - Chest pain.
            - Hard to breathe.
Nosebleeds or epistaxis

Another symptom that is a marker of rheumatic fever is Sydenham chorea. This symptom is characterized by rapid, irregular, and aimless involuntary movements of the arms and legs, trunk, and facial muscles. In more severe cases, the Sydenham Chorea is more uncontrollable.

Is Rheumatic Fever Dangerous?

Rheumatic Fever is classified as a serious condition and still the most important cause of acquired heart disease in children and young adults. Rheumatic fever risks causing the heart valves abnormalities, so the heart is forced to work harder in pumping blood. If the valve abnormalities are not treated properly, this makes the heart worsen. Over time, this condition leads to heart failure. Heart failure can lead to death.

Beware if strep throat is accompanied by fever, joints ache and swell in the wrists, elbows, knees and ankles, muscle aches, and rashes on the body Because these symptoms can mark the occurrence of rheumatic fever. These symptoms usually appear 2 weeks - 1 month after strep throat.

How to treat Rheumatic Fever?

For initial treatment, the doctor usually give medicines in the form of:

a. Anti-inflammatory drugs
Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as the NSID class, work to relieve pain, fever, and inflammatory reactions. If inflammation is not relieved, the doctor can add corticosteroid drugs.

b. Anticonvulsants
This drug works to relieve uncontrolled movements caused by disorders of the nervous system Sydenham chorea. These drugs that can be used are valproic acid and carbamazepine.

c. Antibiotic
Antibiotics work to eradicate the remnants of Streptococcus bacteria. Doctors can give other types of antibiotic drugs to prevent rheumatic fever relapse. Giving antibiotics as a preventative measure requires a long and scheduled process for maximum effect.

Unlike the early stages, rheumatic fever has already caused the heart's inflammation and requires more intense treatment. The doctor may give antibiotics to prevent the disease longer, maybe even for a lifetime.

Prevention is better than cure, including rheumatic fever. One effective way to prevent rheumatic fever is to immediately overcome strep throat and take medication given by a doctor. That way, the risk of rheumatic fever complications will be smaller.