Free dental packs are being handed out to Rheumatic fever patients in the Bay of Plenty. District health nurses will be providing the packs to their patients in the bay, to help reduce the risk of further heart damage.
Dozens of children and young adults receive a monthly injection of Benzathine penicillin to safeguard them from Group A Streptococcus (GAS) bacteria doing further damage to their hearts. Maintaining good oral health is really important for the patients as bacterial complications from dental diseases can also cause heart damage. The packs contain a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss and key health messages. Those messages include: using dental floss daily, drink water not milk, make sure your dentist knows you have had rheumatic fever as you may need extra antibiotics before some types of dental treatment, have a dental check-up every 6 months and brush your teeth twice each day with fluoride toothpaste.
Sore throat swabbing services to detect strep throat which, if untreated, can lead to rheumatic fever, are available at many pharmacies and schools across New Zealand.
For more information about this initiative, and if there is a service in your region, contact your District Health Board.
Created on: 30 July 2019