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Scarlet Fever - Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Published on May 28, 2020 and last reviewed on Jan 09, 2022   -  5 min read


It is a bacterial illness affecting people who have strep throat. Read this article to know about the causes, symptoms, and treatment.

Scarlet Fever - Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, and Treatment

What Is Scarlet Fever?

Scarlet fever is also known by the name scarlatina. It is an infection that might develop in people who already have an existing strep throat infection. It gives a characteristic bright red rash on the body. It is usually accompanied by a high fever or sore throat, sometimes both. The same bacteria that cause strep throat are also known to cause scarlet fever. It mainly affects children between the ages of 5 and 15 years. It is a serious childhood illness.

What Are the Symptoms of Scarlet Fever?

The signs and symptoms might vary depending on the severity of the disease.

The rash and the redness in the face and tongue are known to last about a week. When these signs and symptoms have subsided, the skin affected by the rash often peels. Other signs and symptoms associated with scarlet fever are:

What Are the Causes?

Scarlet fever is caused by a similar type of bacteria that is causing strep throat. In scarlet fever, a toxin is released by the bacteria. This toxin produces red rashes on the tongue.

How Does It Spread?

What Are Fomites?

When an inanimate object or item is infected by the sputum or any other discharges expelled by the infected person, the infectious germs may still remain in the objects. The objects may include desks, handkerchiefs, soaps, glasses, plates, utensils, clothes, cups, spoons, doorknob, pencils, pens, bath faucet handles, toilet flush, handrails, buttons of the lift machine, T.V remote controls, touch screens, phones, keyboards, and coffeepot handles. The germs residing in these objects cannot be seen with our naked eye. The spreading of infection by fomites are known to be proved in many theories of infection. Hence it should be frequently cleaned to avoid spreading to other family members, friends, and classmates.

What Is the Incubation Period?

The incubation period is the time taken for the symptoms to show or express. The incubation period for scarlet fever is usually two to four days.

What Are the Risk Factors?

Children aged five to fifteen years of age are more likely to get affected by scarlet fever than are other people. This may be due to the improper development of the immune system. The germs causing scarlet fever can easily spread through direct contact with the droplets from the affected person.

What Are the Complications?

The bacteria causing the infection may further spread through blood, kidneys, and lungs. If scarlet fever is left untreated, it may cause other complications such as:

How Can It Be Diagnosed?

Your doctor will check the condition of the throat, tonsils, and tongue clinically. They may advise you for a swab test. If there are no bacterial infections, then some other factors might be responsible for the illness.

What Is the Treatment?

If your child is suspected of having scarlet fever, your doctor will prescribe certain antibiotics. Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) can be used to control the fever. This might also reduce throat pain.

Home Remedies:

Provide adequate supplements of fluids. Give your child plenty of water to drink. This keeps the throat moist. This also prevents dehydration. Perform saltwater gargle. Humidification of the air is required. Use a cool-mist humidifier to eliminate the dry air. Avoid ice-creams and cold items. Avoid any products which irritate the throat.

What Are the Preventive Measures?

There are no vaccines found to prevent scarlet fever. The best prevention strategies for scarlet fever are some of the standard precaution protocol to be followed against infections:

For more information, consult a doctor online!

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Last reviewed at:
09 Jan 2022  -  5 min read




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