Scarlet fever is a very serious disease that affects the child. Discover its symptoms, what causes it and the most appropriate medical treatment.

Scarlet fever is a very serious disease of childhood, which is also medically known by the name of scarlet fever. Despite being serious, it is currently easily curable; In fact, although it tends to be considered a disease of the past, the reality is that new cases continue to appear even today.

However, it is true that scarlet fever less frequently tends to cause life-threatening infections, such as septicemia, necrotic phaseitis (destruction of fat and muscle), or streptococcal toxic shock syndrome.

It is characterized as a disease caused by an infection with group A streptococcus bacteria (the same bacteria that causes strep throat), or group A Streptococcus, a bacterium commonly found on the skin and in the throat. That is, it is a bacterial infection that

Scarlet fever symptoms

Generally, 1 to 2 days elapse between the time you are infected and the appearance of your symptoms.

Classically it is an illness that begins with a fever and a sore throat. Regarding the characteristic and distinctive reddish rash of the disease, it usually appears first on the neck and chest, and then spreads to the rest of the body, which can last about a week and as it disappears, it may present peeling of the skin. .

It is a red rash with a texture that is very reminiscent of common sandpaper. In addition, in the folds of the armpits, elbows and groin, a change of the skin to an intense red color is also observed, while the tongue becomes red, swollen and has a whitish coating, producing what is medically known as  tongue raspberry , due to its red appearance and with small bumps.

Other related symptoms may also be described:

  • Shaking chills.
  • General malaise and indisposition.
  • Headache, throat and muscle pain.
  • Swelling of the tongue and redness.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Vomiting.

On the other hand, it is also very common to have a very red and sore throat, high fever (above 38.3 ºC), and swollen glands.

Causes of scarlet fever, how do you get it?

As indicated above, the cause of scarlet fever is infection with group a streptococcus bacterium. These bacteria can live in both the throat and nose, and spread from contact with droplets that come from coughs and sneezes of the infected person.

It can especially affect some people who have skin infections caused by group a streptococcus, or those who have strep throat.

How to prevent it?

Therefore, the best way to avoid contagion is to maintain proper hygiene. For example, we must avoid touching our mouth, nose or eyes after touching any utensil or item that could have droplets from the infected person.

For example, it is not advisable to drink from the same glass or eat from the same plate, as well as not to touch the sores caused by group streptococcal skin infections.

Treatment of scarlet fever

In order to prevent rheumatic fever (a serious complication of both scarlet fever and strep throat), antibiotics are used primarily to kill the bacteria that cause throat infection.

That is, scarlet fever is treated with antibiotics. But for this to be adequate, you must first have been diagnosed by a doctor, and have prescribed these medications. The reason is more than obvious: many viruses can cause sore throat, fever and muscle pain, and yet do not require antibiotics for treatment.

For its diagnosis, the specialist performs what is known as the streptococcus test, which consists of taking a sample from the throat with the help of a swab in order to check if there are group a streptococcal bacteria. If the test is positive, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics to the child.

With this treatment the symptoms usually improve quickly. However, the characteristic skin rash can take up to 2 or 3 weeks to completely disappear.


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