Sore throats can lead to rheumatic fever and heart damage
What is a sore throat?
A sore throat is pain or discomfort in your throat. It feels worse when you swallow. There may be swelling and redness (inflammation) at the back of
your throat. You may also have a fever, chills and a headache. Sore throats can be caused by a virus or bacteria. If your sore throat is caused by the strep A bacteria and not treated then it could cause rheumatic fever and damage your heart.
What is rheumatic fever?
Rheumatic fever is a serious disease caused by an untreated strep throat. It can make you very sick and cause heart damage. You would have painful joints, you may have a rash, a fever and sometimes jerky movements of your hands, feet and face. These symptoms may disappear but the rheumatic fever attack could develop into rheumatic heart disease, causing
damage to your heart valves and some people need heart surgery.
What can I do?
If you have a sore throat tell your parent/caregiver. You must get your sore throat checked by a health professional, a doctor, a nurse or pharmacist. This is free if you are aged between 4 years and 19 years and are of Maori or Pacific Island ethnicity. If you have strep throat and are given a course of
antibiotics, it is important to continue taking them until they are finished. This will make sure the strep throat does not cause rheumatic fever.
To help stop the sore throat bugs from spreading ask everyone to:
- Cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
- Wash your hands with soap and water after coughing or sneezing
- Do not share water bottles, or drinking cups
Pharmacy sore throat free clinics
20-21 Queen Street, Wainuiomata
8 The Strand, Wainuiomata
Unichem Petone Pharmacy
240-242 Jackson Street, Petone
139 Randwick Road, Moera
Unichem Owles Pharmacy
45 Everest Avenue, Naenae
29 Hillary Court, Naenae
1206 High Street, Taita
Unichem Maidstone Pharmacy
53 Main Street, Upper Hutt
Unichem Upper Hutt Health Pharmacy
Upper Hutt Health Centre, Upper Hutt
Unichem Upper Hutt Pharmacy
723 Fergusson Drive, Upper Hutt
What will happen at a sore throat clinic?
The pharmacists or doctors will:
- ask you some questions
- look at your sore throat
- take your temperature
- they may also feel for any swelling (glands) in your neck
They will tell you if you have strep throat or a viral infection.
You will be given antibiotics if it is a strep throat infection. You will not need antibiotics if it is a viral infection such as a common cold.
For more information visit Te Awakairangi Health here.