Scarlet fever is an infection that is caused by the Group A Streptococcus bacteria, symptoms of scarlet fever it causes a certain finely textured rash that has a sandpaper appearance.
The streptococcus bacteria produces a certain toxin that causes the typical scarlet-colored rash, seen in all patients suffering from this illness. However, not all bacteria of this type produce these toxins, and not every child is sensitive to it. Two children in the same family might have this infection, but only the child who is more sensitive to the toxin will develop the rashes; the other one may not face the same. Under normal circumstances, children showing all the signs and symptoms are usually treated successfully with the help of antibiotics. So, if you suspect that your child is suffering from such an infection, then it is advisable to consult with your family doctor immediately for symptoms of scarlet fever.
The rashes usually turn up only after the infection in the throat has taken place, which is also known as ‘strep pharyngitis’ or strep throat. Years ago, this disease was very common among children between the age of 2 to 10 years, but now it has become relatively rare, with all the vaccines, antibiotics, and the overall advancements in medicine for symptoms of scarlet fever.
But medicine apart, the reason for the decrease in the number of cases is still a mystery, especially when you take into consideration the fact that there has been no actual decrease in the number of children, suffering from this infection. A medical mystery to say the least for symptoms of scarlet fever!
Symptoms Of Scarlet Fever
There are a few common symptoms of scarlet fever that can help identify this disease. One of them being the hallmark pinkish-red rash that first appears on the neck and the chest. However, this rash can spread to other parts of the body as well. One can distinguish the characteristic rash by pressing a glass against the rash. The color of the rash will turn into white, when it is pressed against the glass. The texture of the affected skin is rough, similar to that of a sandpaper. This skin rash lasts for about 2 to 7 days. When the rash is gone, the skin on the tip of the fingers, as well as toes begins to peel off.
The affected child is likely to have a sore throat. The child may have swollen lymph nodes in the neck, with a fever of about 101ºF. Sometimes, the child may experience chills. The child may have difficulty swallowing food and water.
He/she may even complain of headaches, nausea, malaise, loss of appetite, and Pastia’s lines (red streaks in the folds of the armpits and groin). Some children may experience symptoms of scarlet feversuch as abdominal pain and vomiting.
The other prominent symptom, apart from the rash, is the strawberry tongue. The tongue has a white coating initially, but slowly turns red and swollen.
Symptoms Of Scarlet Fever In Children
A child will complain about body aches, chills, vomiting, nausea, and loss of appetite. When the symptoms of scarlet fever occurs because of a strep throat, then typically it will stop anywhere within 3-5 days, and the soreness in throat will pass soon afterwards.
In certain rare cases, symptoms of scarlet fever can also be brought on by strep skin infections, like impetigo. In such cases, the child will not suffer from a sore throat. With suitable antibiotic treatment, the rashes and infection will be cured with a special ten-day course of medication, but it could take anywhere from weeks to months for the swollen glands and tonsils to return to normal.
If at all you feel that someone you know is suffering from any of these symptoms, then it is best to take the concerned person for a checkup; otherwise he or she is going to be in a lot of pain and discomfort, within the next few days itself!
If the child is diagnosed with symptoms of scarlet fever, treatment involves antibiotic therapy. Doctors might prescribe penicillin, amoxicillin, clindamycin, etc. The fever tends to reduce within 12 to 24 hours of taking medication. The child should be given plenty of liquids to drink. As the child cannot swallow food, you can give him some soft foods. Affected children should wear loose cotton clothes. You can apply calamine lotion on the skin to reduce the itching. Children over the age of 4 years can have lozenges to soothe the irritated throat. If the child is old enough, you can ask him to gargle with salt water. This will help reduce the discomfort.
With timely antibiotic therapy, the symptoms of scarlet fever can be alleviated within a week. Complications are rare, but in the absence of treatment, there’s the risk of the development of conditions such as pneumonia, meningitis, acute rheumatic fever, etc. Medical assistance must be sought if your child is exhibiting any of the aforementioned symptoms.