Scarlet fever is a contagious bacterial infection that usually affects young children aged 5–15 or people with strep throat. Though it is a severe child infection, scarlet fever is less threatening with antibiotic treatments. If not treated, it can affect the kidneys, heart, and other body parts.
Scarlet fever symptoms
Primary signs include,
- Red rash that feels like sandpaper and looks like a sunburn typically begins in the face and moves downward.
- Red lines, folds of skins around armpit, elbows, neck, knees, and groin.
- Flushed face, usually with a pale ring near the mouth.
- Red and bumpy tongue, often covered in white coating at the early stage of the infections.
The redness and rashes all over the body will probably last for a week, and the affected skin will peel.
Other symptoms are more typical signs of flu, like:
- Increase in body temperature, 100.4F or more
- Red and sore throat
- Hard to swallow
- Enlarged glands, usually in the neck
- Vomiting or nausea
- Stomach ache
- Body and headaches
Scarlet fever is an emergency if:
- Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Severe vomiting or diarrhea
- Unable to comfort
- Rapid breathing that often comes and goes
- Temperature either lesser than 96.0 F or higher than 100.4 F
Scarlet fever preventions
- Wash your hands more frequently and teach children to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Avoid sharing food utensils.
- Throw the used tissues in the bin as soon as possible.
- Cover your nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing.
Is scarlet fever dangerous?
Scarlet fever can be a severe bacterial infection if not treated sooner. Rarely, it can lead to complications during or after the infection. They are:
- Throat abscess
- Ear infection
- Rheumatic fever
No studies suggest that scarlet fever during pregnancy will affect the baby inside. But it can make a pregnant woman sick, so avoid close contact with people who have the infection.
Scarlet fever treatments
A doctor will prescribe antibiotics that will:
- Lower the chances of severe illnesses
- Helps you to get well quick
- Make it less likely to spread the infection to others
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 23 JUNE 2022