Scarlet fever, also known as scarlatina, is an infection that can develop in people who have strep throat. The infection is caused by group A streptococcus bacteria, which are the same bacteria that cause strep throat. These bacteria produce a toxin, or poison, that causes a bright red rash on the body. The signs and symptoms that give scarlet fever its name include:
• Red rash. The rash looks like a sunburn and feels like sandpaper. It typically begins on the face or neck and spreads to the trunk, arms and legs. If pressure is applied to the reddened skin, it will turn pale.
• Red lines. The folds of skin around the groin, armpits, elbows, knees and neck usually become a deeper red than the surrounding rash.
• Flushed face. The face may appear flushed with a pale ring around the mouth.
• Strawberry tongue. The tongue generally looks red and bumpy, and it's often covered with a white coating early in the disease.
HOW IS SCARLET FEVER DIAGNOSED?
Diagnosis of Scarlet Fever is based on the typical symptoms and physical examination. The general physician will check out the child’s tongue, throat and tonsils. They may also check for enlarged lymph nodes. A swab of the tissue from back of throat is taken to detect the bacteria.
HOW IS SCARLET FEVER TREATED?
If child has scarlet fever, doctor will prescribe an antibiotic. Make sure child completes the full course of medication. Failure to follow the treatment guidelines may not completely eliminate the infection and will increase child's risk of developing complications.The child can return to school when he or she has taken antibiotics for at least 24 hours and no longer has a fever.
DID YOU KNOW?
Scarlet fever is caused by the same type of bacteria that cause strep throat. In scarlet fever, the bacteria release a toxin that produces the rash and red tongue.