New ap­proach to high­light dis­ease

South Waikato News - - NEWS / HE PU¯RONGORONGO - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

Stop sore throats hurt­ing hearts, that’s the motto of South Waikato Pa­cific Is­land Com­mu­nity Ser­vices as it starts this year’s Rheumatic Fever cam­paign.

Rheumat­ics co-or­di­na­tor Me­riol Teare­toa is about to kick off the cam­paign in the dis­trict to raise aware­ness.

Aimed at 4-year-olds to 19-yearolds, the pro­gramme will be of­fered to as many schools and child­care cen­tres as Teare­toa can visit, es­pe­cially those with a high ra­tio of Maori and Pa­cific Is­land stu­dents.

The slo­gan which is set across Pa­cific Is­land Com­mu­nity Ser­vices na­tion­wide is dif­fer­ent to last year’s ‘‘sore throats mat­ter’’.

Teare­toa be­lieves the change is more ‘‘straight­for­ward’’.

‘‘It didn’t re­ally tar­get any­thing, this one is tar­get­ing the heart.’’

Ac­cord­ing to the Heart Foun­da­tion, the dis­ease starts with a sore throat caused by strep­to­coc­cal in­fec­tion.

A few weeks af­ter get­ting ‘‘ strep’’ throat, chil­dren may de­velop sore or swollen joints, skin rash, fever, stom­ach pain or jerky move­ments. It then af­fects the heart valve which may re­sult in surgery.

The cam­paign will al­low par­ents to look out for symptoms and urge them seek med­i­cal help if their child has a sore throat, Teare­toa said.

Chil­dren can get free swabs and an­tibi­otics in the dis­trict when they present with a sore throat.

Chil­dren Nester Rikiau, left, Tia Kamere, Caro­line Schus­ter and Leti Le­toga will hope­fully avoid Rheumatic Fever thanks to the cam­paign run by South Waikato Pa­cific Is­land Com­mu­nity Ser­vice rheumat­ics co-or­di­na­tor Me­riol Teare­toa,back.

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