Scarlet Fever: Causes, Symptoms And Diagnosis

Sometimes we believe that scarlet fever is a disease of the past, but this is not the case. In fact, new cases continue to appear today
Scarlet fever: causes, symptoms and diagnosis

Scarlet fever is also known as scarlet fever. It is a disease that mainly affects children between the ages of 5 and 12. However, any person can contract it in adulthood.

It is an infection caused by group A streptococcal bacteria, which are frequently found in the skin, nose and throat. These are the same bacteria that cause strep throat.

Scarlet fever is not considered serious in itself, but there is a possibility that it has complications, so it requires prompt medical attention. Nowadays it can be cured with relative ease if you intervene in time.

Causes of Scarlet Fever

Scarlet fever streptococci

Scarlet fever is contracted by contagion. It is usually transmitted when a child comes into contact with another infected child. More specifically through the drops that come out of the nose or throat. This occurs when the person sneezes or coughs, but also when they talk and spit some saliva.

The infection also occurs when a child eats from the same containers from which a person who has been infected with group A streptococcal bacteria. Similarly, scarlet fever is transmitted by coming into contact with the sores that appear on the skin as a result of disease.

Since it is a frequent disease among children, in most cases the infection occurs at school. Children are not very scrupulous with hygiene measures and it is not uncommon for them to eat from the same plate or to share food just bitten by a sick partner.

Symptoms of Scarlet Fever

Woman with sore throat

The time that passes between the moment of infection and the appearance of the first symptoms is very short. Symptoms usually appear one or two days later. The first symptoms that appear are high fever and sore throat.

Later, the bacteria release a toxin. Then, reddish rashes begin to appear, mainly located on the neck and chest. And within a week or so they spread all over the body.

The rash caused by scarlet fever is a red irritation that has a texture similar to that of ordinary sandpaper to the touch.

The sores are accompanied by redness between the folds of the skin, or in areas such as armpits, elbows, groin, etc. The tongue becomes redder and inflamed, but has a whitish coating. It is also common to have chills, abdominal pain, vomiting, muscle pain and general malaise.  

It is important to take into account that an individual with scarlet fever will have difficulty eating, due to the state of the tongue and throat. Therefore it is recommended to give him soft and liquid foods in large quantities. On the other hand, you need to keep the baby in a cool environment.

Diagnosis and prognosis

Child in bed with fever

Scarlet fever is diagnosed following a physical exam, almost always accompanied by a test for strep. The latter will determine the type of bacteria present in the throat and will allow to confirm the presence of the disease.

It is carried out by preparing a culture with the material taken with a throat swab. Sometimes the patient is also subjected to blood tests.

With proper treatment, scarlet fever should be cured quickly. It may take two to three weeks for symptoms to go away completely. During healing, peeling of the skin frequently occurs as the sores begin to subside. Especially in the tips of the fingers and toes and in the groin. This is a process that can take several weeks.

Although not common, scarlet fever could cause long-term health problems. Some of which can be serious. These include:

  • Rheumatic fever
  • Kidney disease, especially post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis, which is an inflammation of the kidneys
  • Otitis media
  • Skin infections
  • Abscesses in the throat that manifest as lumps of pus
  • Arthritis
  • Pneumonia
  • Liver disorders
  • Inflammation of the lymph nodes
  • Sinus infection

It is essential to provide the appropriate assistance to avoid any complications. The usual treatment of scarlet fever is based on the administration of antibiotics, which almost always have the desired effect in a short time.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button