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There were 3,257 people in the United States who died from rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease in 2006 according to the American Heart Association.
*Source: American Heart Association

Rheumatic Fever Prevention

Rheumatic Fever is a complication of strep throat and scarlet fever. The only way to prevent rheumatic fever is to be diagnosed with infection by the streptococcus bacterium and treated with a full course of antibiotics.

Help Reduce Your Risk of Rheumatic Fever

You can lower your chances of getting rheumatic fever by seeing your Wellstar physician when you have the following strep throat and scarlet fever symptoms and comply with your doctor’s treatment:

  • A sore throat that lasts longer than one week
  • Recurring sore throats
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excessive drooling (young children)
  • A temperature above 100.3 degrees (in children under three months old)
  • A temperature above 102 degrees (in children six months or older), if the temperature continues to rise or lasts more than three days
  • Pus on the back of the throat
  • Hoarseness that lasts longer than two weeks
  • Blood in the saliva or phlegm
  • Symptoms of dehydration (dry, sticky mouth, sleepiness, thirst, decreased urination, few or no tears when crying, muscle weakness, headache, dizziness or lightheadedness)
  • Contact with someone diagnosed with strep throat
  • Sunburn-like red rash that feels like sandpaper (scarlet fever)
  • Flushed face with paleness around the mouth (scarlet fever)
  • Pastia’s lines: red lines in folds of skin around the groin, armpits, elbows, knees, neck (scarlet fever)
  • Red and bumpy tongue, with white coating early in illness (scarlet fever)
  • Fever of 101 degrees or higher, often with chills (scarlet fever)
  • Headache, nausea, vomiting (scarlet fever)

Tests and Screenings for Rheumatic Fever

Currently, there is no one test for rheumatic fever, but your Wellstar physician may use a combination of tests to diagnose rheumatic fever as well as its impact on the heart, joints and immune system. Among the tests:

  • Blood test to check for recurrent strep infection
  • Complete blood count
  • Examination of inflammation
  • Electrocardiogram
  • ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate), a nonspecific test used in conjunction with other diagnostic methods to determine whether disease is causing inflammation