Do you know that those bright red rashes on your body may be due to Scarlet Fever?
Scarlet fever is a bacterial illness that develops if you are suffering from strep throat.
Scarlet fever is also known as Scarlatina and features a bright red rash that covers most of the body.
Moreover, it is important to note that a sore throat and a high fever often accompany scarlet fever.
Scarlet fever is most common in children from the age o 5 to 15 years of age.
Though scarlet fever was once considered a serious childhood, today with the help of antibiotic treatment, your doctor can treat it.
However, if you do not get treatment early, it can result in more serious complications that can affect the heart, kidneys, and other parts of the body.
Keep on reading to learn more about it in detail.
Strep Throat Rash: The main Symptom of Scarlet Fever
One of the most common signs of scarlet fever is a rash and is present in both adults and children.
It often begins as a red blotchy rash and also becomes fine and rough like sandpaper.
Moreover, the scarlet-colored rash is what gives scarlet fever its name.
This rash can begin in up to two or three days before you even feel ill or up to seven days after.
It is important to note that the rash often begins on the neck, groin, and under the arms.
It then spreads to the rest of the body.
The folds of skin in the armpits, elbows, and knees can also become a deeper red than the surrounding skin.
After seven days, when the rash subsides, the skin on the tips of the fingers and toes and in the groin may also peel.
Furthermore, it can last for several weeks.
Other Symptoms of Scarlet Fever
Some of the other common symptoms of scarlet fever are:
- red creases in the armpits, elbows, and knees or Pastia’s lines.
- flushed face
- strawberry tongue or a white tongue with red dots on the surface
- red, sore throat with white or yellow patches
- fever that is above 101 degrees Fahrenheit or 38.3 degrees Celcius
- swollen tonsils
- nausea and vomiting
- abdominal pain
- swollen glands along the neck
- pale skin around the lip
Causes of Scarlet Fever
Scarlet fever occurs due to a group of Streptococcus or Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria.
These bacteria can live in your mouth and nasal passages.
It is important to note that humans are the main source of these bacteria.
Moreover, these bacteria can produce a toxin or poison that causes a bright red rash on the body.
The infection can also spread from one person to another via droplets that they might expel when they cough or sneeze.
The incubation period for this disease is the time between exposure and illness and is often 2 to 3 days.
Is it Contagious?
One of the important things to note is that this infection can spread two to five days before you fell ill.
Moreover, it may also spread through contact with droplets from your saliva, nasal secretions, sneeze, or cough.
This means that if anyone comes in direct contact with you then these infected droplets can infect the other person.
When they touch their own mouth, nose, or eyes, it infects them as well.
You may also get scarlet fever if you drink from the same glass or eat off of the same utensils.
In some cases, group A strep infection can also spread through contaminated food.
Furthermore, Group A strep can cause a skin infection in some people.
These skin infections or Cellulitis can spread from the bacteria to others.
However, touching the rash of scarlet fever will not spread the bacteria as the rash is a result of the toxin, not the bacteria itself.
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Risk Factors and Complications of Scarlet Fever
One of the important things to note is that scarlet fever mainly affects children between the ages of 5 and 15.
You can also catch scarlet fever from being in close contact with others who are infected.
In most cases, the rash and other symptoms of scarlet fever leave your body in about 10 days to 2 weeks with the use of antibiotics.
However, scarlet fever can cause complications.
Rheumatic fever, kidney disease i.e. glomerulonephritis, ear infections, throat abscesses, pneumonia, and arthritis.
With the help of proper antibiotics, your doctor can treat ear infections, throat abscesses, and pneumonia promptly.
Other complications are known to be the result of your immune response to the infection rather than the bacteria themselves.
Diagnosing Scarlet Fever
At first, your child’s doctor will perform a physical exam to check for the signs and symptoms of scarlet fever.
During the exam, your doctor will especially check the condition of the tongue, throat, and tonsils of your child.
Moreover, they will also look for enlarged lymph nodes and examine the appearance and texture of the rash.
In case, the doctor of your child suspects scarlet fever, they will most likely swab the back of their throat.
They will do so to collect a sample of their cells for analysis.
This is a throat swab and can help to create a throat culture.
They will then send the sample to the laboratory to determine whether group A streptococcus is present or not.
Furthermore, there is also a rapid throat swab test that your doctor will perform in the office.
This can help to identify group A strep infection while you wait.
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Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics for the treatment of scarlet fever.
Antibiotics will kill the bacteria and also help the immune system of your body to fight off the bacteria that is causing the infection.
However, make sure to complete the entire course of the prescription medications.
This will also help to prevent the infection from causing further complications or continuing further.
Moreover, you can also give certain over-the-counter, OTC medications like acetaminophen for fever or pain.
Make sure to check with your doctor to see if your child is old enough to receive iburophen.
On the other hand, adults may also use acetaminophen or iburophen.
It is important to note that you should never give aspirin to your child or at any age during an illness with fever.
This can increase the risk of developing Reye’s Syndrome.
Thus, the doctor of your child may also prescribe other medications to help ease the pain of a sore throat.
Some of the other remedies are eating ice pops, ice cream, or a warm soup.
Furthermore, gargling with salt water and using a cool air humidifier can also help to decrease the severity and pain of a sore throat.
Make sure that your child drinks plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
Your child can return to school after taking antibiotics for at least 24 hours and no longer have a fever.
There is currently no vaccine for scarlet fever or group A strep, though many potential vaccines are in clinical development.
You can take a number of preventive steps to reduce your child’s discomfort and pain.
Adequate Liquids: Make sure to give your child plenty of water to keep the throat moist and prevent dehydration.
Salt Water Gargle: Give your child salt water to gargle and then spit out. This can help ease the throat pain.
Humidify Air: Using a cool-mist humidifier can help to eliminate dry air that might further irritate a sore throat.
Throat Lozenges: If your child is older than 4 years of age, sucking on throat lozenges can help to relieve a sore throat.
Provide Comforting Foods: Warm liquids like a soup and cold treat can help soothe a sore throat.
Avoid Irritants: Keep your home free from cigarette smoke and cleaning products that can often irritate the throat.
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Practicing oral hygiene is one of the best ways you can prevent scarlet fever.
Some of the prevention tips to follow and teach your children are:
- Washing hands before meals and after using the restroom.
- Washing their hands anytime you cough or sneeze.
- Cover mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing
- Avoid sharing utensils and drinking glasses with others, especially in a group setting.
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Managing your Symptoms
It is important to use antibiotics for scarlet fever.
However, there are some things you can do to help ease the symptoms and discomfort that come with scarlet fever.
Some of these are:
Drink warm teas or broth-based soups, try soft foods, or take a liquid diet if eating is painful.
Take OTC medications like acetaminophen or iburophen to ease throat pain.
You can also use anti-itch cream or medications to relieve itching.
Make sure to drink enough water to moisten the throat and avoid dehydration.
Avoid smoking, stay away from irritants, suck on throat lozenges, try saltwater gargle, and humidity the air.
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Scarlet fever or scarlatina is an infection that can develop if you have a sore throat or strep throat. It is often characterized by a bright red rash on the body, usually accompanied by a high fever and sore throat. It is important to note that the same bacteria that can cause strep throat also causes scarlet fever.
Scarlet fever mostly affects children between the ages of 5 and 15 years. With the help of antibiotics you can get treatment for scarlet fever, however, make sure to get prompt treatment, as it can lead to certain complications.