Rheumatic Fever: An Ailment From a Bygone Era
Rheumatic fever is not a disease you hear much about in the 21st century. It is a disease, however, that plays a minor role in my WW1 Trilogy. Hettie Bartlette’s father, Benjamin, suffers from the ailment.
What is rheumatic fever? It is a complication that can result from streptococcal infections such as strep throat. It also could be caused by scarlet fever. Seeing as scarlet fever was a common childhood disease in the 19th century, this was probably the culprit for Benjamin’s infection.
Contributing factors also were poor eating habits and cold climate.
The fever was most common in children and young adults.
The symptoms include:
- Fever, can be mild or up to 104 degrees
- Join pain
- Joint swelling
- Twitching limbs
Lasting Effects of Rheumatic Fever
The fever can reoccur, and this can cause damage to the heart. People who died of rheumatic fever generally did not die from the fever itself but from heart failure.
Antibiotics used to treat strep prevent the onset of the disease. Before the advent of antibiotics, all a family could do was keep a patient comfortable.
Today, rheumatic fever is categorized as an autoimmune disorder. This is because the illness seems to run in families and often is accompanied by an auto-immune response.
The term rheumatism is a generic term that was extensively used in previous generations. It was used to describe inflammation or stiffness of the joints, including arthritis.
Where to Purchase the WWI Trilogy
This post is a companion piece to Melina Druga’s WWI Trilogy: Angel of Mercy, Those Left Behind and Adjustment Year. The trilogy focuses on Hettie and her family as they navigate the challenges and heartbreak World War I brings.
Angel of Mercy: A nurse reluctantly sacrifices her career for marriage. An impending war will change her, and her husband’s, life forever. Available in eBook, paperback and hardcover. Click here for a full list of retailers.
Those Left Behind: The brewing winds of war will soon rip the family apart. Available in eBook, paperback and hardcover. Click here for a full list of retailers.
Adjustment Year: A war nurse returns home. Society expects her to carry on as if the Great War never happened. But how can she? Available in eBook, paperback and hardcover. Click here for a full list of retailers.