Scarlet fever (inflammation post streptococcal)


General or Other | General Practice | Scarlet fever (inflammation post streptococcal) (Disease)


Description

Scarlet fever is caused by an infection with group A streptococcus bacteria. The bacteria make a toxin (poison) that can cause the scarlet-colored rash from which this illness gets its name. Not all streptococci bacteria make this toxin and not all kids are sensitive to it. Two kids in the same family may both have strep infections, but one child (who is sensitive to the toxin) may develop the rash of scarlet fever while the other may not.

Usually, if a child has this scarlet rash and other symptoms of strep throat, it can be treated with antibiotics. The main symptoms include a sore throat and headache, fever, vomiting and swollen neck glands. The tongue develops a thick, white coating, which peels after four or five days leaving it swollen with a red, strawberry appearance.

Causes and Risk factors

The rash usually develops around the second day of infection. Its caused by toxins released during the condition and tends to look like bad sunburn. It may itch and feels like sandpaper with tiny bumps. It first appears on the neck, before spreading to the chest and back, then to the rest of the body. It fades around six days after the onset of sore throat symptoms. The skin affected by the rash may peel, particularly around the fingertips, toes and groin.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The diagnosis of scarlet fever can be made by your health-care provider utilizing information obtained from your medical history, physical exam, and laboratory testing.

Antibiotics are the cornerstone of treatment for scarlet fever, and they are generally curative. Individuals with scarlet fever can take over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain control and fever reduction. Adequate rest and increased fluid intake are also important for promoting a more rapid recovery. If pharyngitis is present, various throat lozenges can provide temporary relief for a minor sore throat. Gargling with warm saltwater may also be helpful. ...