National Geographic : 1941 Sep
WHAT'S THE MOST DANGEROUS DISEASE OF School Years? RHEUMATIC FEVER causes more serious dis ability among children of school age than any other single disease! In addition, it is responsible for most of the heart disease among people under the age of 40 much of this heart disease results from rheumatic fever attacks which started during school years. Rheumatic fever usually appears after a chill or exposure to inclement weather. It is often ac companied or associated with a sore throat, ton sillitis, or a cold. Symptoms of an attack, often so vague or slight as to be frequently overlooked, may be: rapid heart, fever which may be slight, pallor, loss of appetite, weight, and vigor, fleet ing muscular aches. However, symptoms may be much more pronounced, such as: repeated nose bleeds, extreme nervousness, stiffness, swelling in joints and muscle, pain often traveling from joint to joint. It is vitally important for parents to realize that a child with any of these symptoms may have rheumatic fever and needs immediate medi cal attention. If your doctor determines that rheumatic fever is the trouble, he will probably point out to you the following important facts: Rheumatic fever is a serious and potentially chronic disease. Repeated attacks are com mon, and the heart is almost invariably in volved. The seriousness of the heart damage depends largely on the severity and frequency of attacks. Consequently, continuous medical supervision during the illness and convales cence and periodic examinations afterwards are necessary. Rheumatic fever may last many months; the patient must often stay in bed long after all fever and pain have disappeared-until the doctor gives permission to get up. Since rheu matic fever is apt to run in families, the doctor should be given an opportunity to examine other children in the family at regular intervals. p-While the cause of the disease is unknown, and its cure as yet unfound, early detection of its onset and of recurrences, and prompt medical care, can often do much to lessen its severity and help children to live useful, happy lives. Many thousands of people who suffered attacks in childhood are today active and healthy. To help parents further guard against the dan gerous effects of rheumatic fever and its recur rences, Metropolitan offers two free booklets, 91-N, "Protecting Your Heart," and 91-NA, "Rheumatism." COPYRIGHT 1941-METROPOLITAN LIFE INSURANCE CO. Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (A MUTUAL COMPANY) Frederick H. Ecker, CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD Leroy A. Lincoln, PRESIDENT 1 MADISON AVENUE, NEW YORK, N. Y.