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Scarlet Fever: Symptoms, Prevention, Treatment, and More

child with scarlet fever

Scarlet fever is a common infectious illness caused by the bacteria Group A Streptococcus. It is usually self-limited but can be serious in young children or those with underlying medical conditions. There is no cure for this viral illness, but there are treatments available to help relieve the symptoms. In this article, we’ll look at the symptoms, how it is spread and what the treatment options are, and everything you need to know.

What is scarlet fever?

scarlet fever concept

Scarlet fever is a bacterial infection that most commonly affects children between the ages of 5 and 15. The disease is caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, a type of bacteria that can also cause strep throat, pneumonia, and other serious infections.

Scarlet fever is marked by a distinctive red rash on the chest and neck, as well as a high fever. While the illness is not common in the United States, it remains a serious health threat in parts of the world where it is more prevalent.

How do you get scarlet fever?

The bacteria that cause scarlet fever, Streptococcus pyogenes, are spread through contact with respiratory secretions, such as saliva or mucus, from an infected person.

Is scarlet fever contagious?

Scarlet fever is highly contagious and can be spread through coughing and sneezing. It is important to seek medical attention if you suspect your child has scarlet fever.

Scarlet fever symptoms

child tongue with scarlet fever

Scarlet fever is a bacterial infection that causes a red rash on the body. The rash typically starts on the chest and stomach, but it can spread to other parts of the body. The illness is most common in children, but it can also occur in adults.

Symptoms of scarlet fever include:

  • high fever
  • a red rash
  • sore throat
  • swollen glands
  • headache.

What causes scarlet fever

The cause of this illness is Streptococcus pyogenes, a type of bacteria that can also cause strep throat. It is treated with antibiotics, and most cases are resolved within a week. However, in some cases, the infection can spread to other parts of the body and lead to more serious health complications.

How Is scarlet fever diagnosed?

The illness is usually diagnosed based on the symptoms and a physical exam. In some cases, a blood test or throat culture may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.

Risk factors for scarlet fever

High temperature reading in thermometer

While the vast majority of cases are mild, there are some risk factors that can increase the severity of scarlet fever. These include having other health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease and being infected with strep throat or another type of bacteria.

The viral illness is also more dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn babies, so it is important for expectant mothers to seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms.

Complications associated with scarlet fever

Although scarlet fever is usually a mild illness, it can occasionally cause serious complications. In rare cases, it can cause a serious condition called streptococcal toxic shock syndrome. This condition causes high fever and severe rash, as well as muscle aches and sore throat.

Scarlet fever can also lead to more severe complications, such as kidney damage, heart failure and death. In the past, the illness caused many pregnant women to have miscarriages or stillbirths.

Preventing scarlet fever

The best way to prevent the illness is to get vaccinated against it.

Another way to prevent it is to practice good hygiene. Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or preparing food for other people.

If you are sick with scarlet fever, stay off school or work until you have recovered.

How to treat scarlet fever

young child taking medicine for her scarlet fever

The illness is treated with antibiotics and usually resolves within a few days. Other treatments are less effective. If you are treated with this condition, take the antibiotics as prescribed. You may be given a dose of antibiotics such as penicillin and ibuprofen to take home in case you have an infection at home or elsewhere. If left untreated, the illness can lead to pneumonia or even death.

How long does scarlet fever last

The illness is a bacterial infection that most often affects children. It is caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, the same bacterium that causes strep throat. The illness is marked by a distinctive rash, which gives the disease its name. The rash typically starts on the chest and abdomen and then spreads to the face and arms. Symptoms usually last for 7 to 10 days.

Final Thoughts

Scarlet Fever is a severe illness that can cause serious health complications if not treated. It is important to be aware of the symptoms and to seek medical attention if you think you or your child may have it. There are many ways to prevent and treat the illness, so it is important to talk to your doctor if you think you or your child may have contracted it.

For emergency situations, don’t hesitate to contact Kingwood ER. We are conveniently located in Houston, Texas.

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