​Advice for people diagnosed with acute rheumatic fever or rheumatic heart disease and their families.

Last updated: 03 May 2018

​Remember your injections

People with acute rheumatic fever or rheumatic heart disease need penicillin injections every 4 weeks to stay healthy and keep their heart strong.

Don't ignore a sore throat

  • Visit your doctor or clinic if you have a sore throat.
  • "Strep" germs that cause sort throats can also cause acute rheumatic fever.

Keep cuts and sores covered

  • This prevents cuts or sores from getting infected and stops germs from spreading to other people.
  • Touching and picking sores or picking your nose can spread these germs too.
  • Visit a doctor if sores spread or don't seem to get better.

Keep your teeth healthy

  • Brush your teeth every morning and night to help prevent other infections that may damage your heart.
  • Visit your dentist every year to make sure your teeth are healthy.

Keep yourself clean

  • "Strep" germs that cause sore throats can also live on your skin.
  • Having a bath or shower each day with help wash away germs.
  • Wash away the "Strep" germ by washing hands with soap and running water:
    • before and after touching a skin infection or sore
    • after blowing your nose or helping someone else blow their nose
    • after touching or handling used clothes, towels and sheets.

Wash clothes and sheets regularly

  • The germs on your body can also live on your clothes and sheets.
  • Washing clothes, towels and sheets regularly in the washing machine will help stop infections from spreading.
  • Washing should be dried in a dryer or outside in the sun to help kill germs.

Don't share personal items

Sharing clothes, towels, bed sheets, razors and toothbrushes can spread germs.

Sleeping apart

  • If possible, children with acute rheumatic fever should have their own beds and bedding.
  • If children share a bed with someone, "top and tail" them to prevent the spread of germs.

Keep the house clean

The germs that cause acute rheumatic fever can live on surfaces like bathroom sinks, taps and door handles. These should be cleaned often.

What can my friends and family do to help me stay healthy?

  • Wash their hands regularly, particularly after coughing, sneezing or touching their nose.
  • Cover any cuts and sores.
  • Visit the doctor if they have a sore throat and skin sores.

More information

More information about RHD is available in the "Things you need to know" booklet available on the Rheumatic Heart Disease Australia website.
You can also talk with your doctor, nurse, Aboriginal health worker, or call your local public health unit on 1300 066 055.
Current as at: Thursday 3 May 2018
Contact page owner: Communicable Diseases