Scarlet Fever Symptoms and Facts
When I first heard of scarlet fever I was reminded of the weird fevers people used to have in the olden days that could not be treated and so it was. Many people suffered these unknown fevers. The name "scarlet fever" was given to this disease based on it's appearance and of course the fact that it was a fever.
Before we can talk about the symptoms of scarlet fever we have to know what scarlet fever is or what causes it. Scarlet fever is caused by the streptococci bacteria. This bacteria produces a poison that causes us to get a red rash. This disease used to be very prevalent among children but is now very treatable.
The streptococci bacterium is the same one that causes a strep throat so I would suggest getting treatment for your strep throat and don't let get out of hand. Since it's a bacteria and not a virus most likely you will need antibiotics. See section on treatments. These bacteria are classified in different groups with some causing different illnesses via the toxins they produce.
The most prominent symptom of scarlet fever is a rash that looks somewhat like a bad sunburn. This rash normally starts on the back of the neck then spreads to the other part of the body.
Symptoms of scarlet fever
These signs are symtomatic of scarlet fever. They usually start to show themselves within two days of coming in contact with the bacteria. As the name suggests: scarlet - red and fever, the symptoms to first present themselves are usually a fever, sore throat and redness on the armpits and groin. Other symptoms will follow shortly.
- tummy ache
- strep throat
- red rashy tongue
- red sunburn-like rashes that starts on the neck and chest. As the disease gets worse they spread.
- Redness on the arm-pits and near the groin area.
If you didn't know before, strep throat can lead to rheumatic fever and of course it does cause scarlet fever.
Strep throat is a caused by a bacteria. Bacteria causes infections. Infections can only be treated with antibiotics. So it lends to reason that if I have scarlet fever I will have to see a doctor and not try to treat it myself as with a common cold.
A prescription antibiotic will be supplied by your physician and in severe cases you might be hospitalized and treated there until they are satisfied that you are well enough to be sent home.
You know when your condition is serious if your symptoms persist beyond 24 hours of antibiotic treatment or more symptoms develop. In other words, once you start to take the antibiotics you should be feeling better not worse or the same.
Complications and prevention
As with most diseases caused from bacteria, if left untreated for too long scarlet fever can develop into more serious and even life threatening illnesses. Complications can still occur with the correct treatment but very unlikely. Some of these complications are:
- Rheumatic fever
- Kidney failure
- Ear infection
If you know someone with scarlet fever stay away from them or be as careful as possible. If it is at all possible, wear a mask when around them and wash your hand with antibacterial soap as often as possible.
Be careful around someone with a strep throat. Make sure family members are careful and not drink from the same container before washing. Proper hygiene and sanitation is very essential to keeping healthy.
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You take full legal responsibility for whatever decisions you make regarding you own health care. Consult your health care provider.
© 2012 Carolee Samuda
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