Scarlet fever

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Scarlet fever is basically strep throat accompanied by rashes. This condition is quite common among children ages 2-10 but can develop at any age.

It is caused by the streptococcal bacteria which is the same bacteria responsible for strep throat. There are various strains where some can trigger a more serious ailment than others. The type of strep bacteria that infects the throat and triggers scarlet fever is specifically called group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus.

What are the indications?

Scarlet fever
It is caused by the streptococcal bacteria which is the same bacteria responsible for strep throat.

The indications of scarlet fever are the same as strep throat. If a child has the following symptoms, get in touch with a doctor.

  • Fever of 38.3 degrees C or higher
  • Sore throat and swallowing difficulty
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck

The other symptoms that arise before the rash especially among children can include generalized body aches, abdominal pain, headache, nausea, vomiting or listlessness. It is important to note that scarlet fever does not usually occur with cold symptoms such as cough, sneezing and a stuffed or runny nose.

The most evident indication of scarlet fever is a red, rough rash that feels the same as fine sandpaper. The rash typically manifests 24 hours after the fever starts which begins on the chest and abdomen and covers the entire body in 1-2 days. Take note that the rash and accompanying redness are more prominent in the skin folds particularly in the armpits, groin and elbow creases. The rash eventually fades in a week and starts to peel. As the skin starts to peel, bright reddened spots develop on the tongue.


The condition is managed using antibiotics. Remember though that complications can develop such as sinusitis, middle ear infection and pneumonia. In rare instances, a serious infection might develop. Luckily, most cases can be treated without any lasting complications.


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