Keeping Your Children Safe From Scarlet Fever
Scarlet fever is a disease caused by an infection with the group A Streptococcus bacteria, which is the same bacteria that causes strep throat. The symptoms of scarlet fever include high fever and sore throat, as well as a very distinct rash. It’s vital that any child that has contracted scarlet fever be treated quickly and properly to avoid side effects and complications with this disease.
Symptoms of Scarlet Fever
When a person has been infected with the strep bacteria and contracts scarlet fever, their symptoms show up within days. Typically it begins with a fever as the body raises its own temperature to fight off bacteria and infections. A patient will also have a sore throat and then develop the rash that is associated with scarlet fever. This rash usually first appears on the upper body including the neck and chest, and from there it may spread across the entire body. This rash is typically very rough, often described as a sandpaper type of feeling. This texture of the rash is key to diagnosing scarlet fever. As the rash dissipates, it may cause peeling of the skin around the fingertips, toes, and groin area.
Other symptoms of scarlet fever include abdominal pain, chills or fever or both, headache, muscle aches, a swollen and red tongue, and vomiting. If your child has any of these symptoms it’s best to get them to a doctor immediately so they can be diagnosed properly. He or she will get a throat culture to check for the strep bacteria and will need to examine the rash in order to determine if it’s truly scarlet fever or another cause.
How it Develops
Because the bacteria is what causes the infection of scarlet fever, the condition is usually communicated through human contact. If there are reports of the fever in your area or your child’s school, this raises the risk factor. While the disease is very serious for children, it has been successfully treated in the past few decades. Antibiotics will be administered to kill the bacteria and infection, and a child’s physical symptoms are also addressed. He or she will need rest as well as fluids if they are vomiting, and skin creams may also be prescribed to address the rash itself. They may experience malaise or fatigue, and will need treatments for their sore throat.
Complications from scarlet fever are rare and typically contained with the right, timely treatment, but they may include bone or joint problems and the onset or arthritis, ear infections, inflammation of glands, meningitis, pneumonia, sinusitis, kidney damage, and acute fever. To ensure that your child is not at risk for these complications, it’s imperative you bring him or her to the doctor at the first sign of fever and rash so they can be treated immediately. You also want to keep in touch with your doctor about symptoms of complications so that you can bring your child back in for follow-up treatment when necessary.
Any unexplained rashes need to be examined by a doctor to rule out allergies or other conditions, and to ensure that scarlet fever is treated quickly and thoroughly. Make an appointment with your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms and signs in your child.