Scarlet fever is an infection caused by the release of exotoxins released by Streptococcus pyogenes, the same group which causes sore throat. Before, this disease was one of the major causes of death and at present, may be treated effectively by the use of antibiotics.
Scarlet Fever in Children – Dangerous if Left Untreated
Some strains of group A streptococci bacteria are the causes scarlet fever in children, however since this is the same bacteria that causes strep throat, the child’s signs and symptoms must be carefully observed and documented. Scarlet fever is easily treated with medication, however if left untreated, is a dangerous childhood disease. This disease resembles strep throat but with a rash which, is the hallmark sign of scarlet fever. Symptoms of the disease usually surface about 1-7 days post exposure to an infected person. Scarlet fever in children begins with a fever and sore throat, and after a day or two, the hallmark signs will suffice. At this point, it is advisable to take the child to the nearest hospital to be examined by a physician so that confirmatory examinations may be done and that medications be prescribed. It is important to have the child seen by the health care provider upon suspicion of scarlet fever because this condition is oftentimes fatal if left untreated.
Scarlet Fever Symptoms – What to Look Out For
Scarlet fever symptoms occur somewhere between one to seven days from the time of exposure. The first of the symptoms are usually fever, and a sore throat, resembling the common cold. In scarlet fever however, the fever is often very high fever (103-194 degrees F) which lasts for 4-7days if without antibiotic therapy. Other scarlet fever symptoms include some, if not all of the following: pain in the abdomen, vomiting, nausea, headache, and chills accompanying. A general rash usually appears upon the onset of fever, along with a reddish and swollen throat. Once inspected, other children may have inflamed tonsils with a mild to moderate coating of pus, a decrease in appetite and malaise.
Scarlet Fever Rash – the Disease’s Hallmark Sign
Scarlet fever rash is the hallmark sign of this type of infection. The rash would first appear on the child’s chest and neck before spreading throughout the body; it has similar characteristics as sandpaper. The rash lasts from four up to six days and may also appear on the underarms, the groin, and the creases on the elbows. When the rash begins to fade the skin may start peeling around the tips of the fingers, toes, and the other areas, which had the rash; the peeling or desquamation of the skin, would last up to six weeks. If scarlet fever is suspected in the child, the physician will most likely perform a rapid antigen detection or throat swab, and a throat culture to check for group A strep as confirmation of the diagnosis before starting the treatment with antibiotics.