Scarlet fever

What is scarlet fever

Scarlet fever is an infectious disease characterized by high fever, sore throat (pharyngitis) and a characteristic rash.

Scarlet infection is caused by group A streptococci that cause infection. Scarlet fever is mostly a childhood disease.

It mainly occurs in children between 2 and 10 years of age, although rarely, it also occurs in older children and adults.

Incidence and mortality of this disease have decreased dramatically due to the introduction of antibiotic treatment.

What are the symptoms

Symptoms of scarlet infection usually begin 1 to 4 days after exposure to the strep infection. And they are usually:

  • Sore throat. The throat may appear red and swollen and there may be white spots on the tonsils;
  • Headache;
  • Fever; >
  • Physical malaise;
  • Abdominal pain;
  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Swollen and hard lymph nodes on both sides of the neck;
  • < strong>After about 1 to 4 days, a characteristic rash also appears. It usually appears on the chest, neck and armpits and then spreads to other parts of the body. In the areas of the rash, the skin looks like sandpaper – numerous red dot-like lesions. The rash lasts between 2 and 7 days and after it fades, the skin begins to peel and this process can last several weeks;
  • During the first 1-2 days of the disease, the tongue may had a white coating with raised, papillae on the surface appearing swollen and red. After about 4-5 days, the tongue takes on a raspberry color.

What causes it

Scarlet infection is caused by an infection with group A streptococci bacteria, which produce an exotoxin.

This bacterium is characterized by its ability to produce exotoxins, which lead to the appearance of characteristic symptoms of the disease, including a red rash on the skin, from which the name “scarlet fever” itself comes.

Certain types of group A streptococcus can be present in the nose or throat of healthy people and not cause any problems.

However, when these bacteria enter the body and multiply, they can lead to infection.

Streptococci are susceptible to direct contact, as well as through an airborne drop when the infected person coughs or sneezes.

Infection is easily transmitted, especially in environments where people living together in close quarters is common.

Symptoms of scarlet fever include sore throat, pain when swallowing, headache, nausea, high fever, characteristic itchy skin rash and presence of sores around the mouth.

Symptoms usually appear 2 to 5 days after contact with an infected person.

The discharge of the rash, which is characteristic of scarlet fever, however, may last up to several weeks after the onset of the disease.

Since the symptoms of scarlet fever can resemble other throat infections or even food allergies, it is important to get an accurate diagnosis from a doctor.

This process involves examining the throat and taking samples for culture, which allows identification of the causative agent of the infection.

Treatment for scarlet fever

Treatment for scarlet fever is usually aimed at relieving symptoms and preventing the infection from spreading.

It is important that patients with scarlet fever isolate themselves and avoid contact with other people, especially vulnerable groups, until the risk period for contagiousness has passed, which is usually about 24 hours after the start of antibiotic therapy.

One of the most important steps in treating scarlet fever is taking the prescribed antibiotics.

Penicillin is usually the recommended choice, but in cases of allergy to it or ineffectiveness, the doctor may suggest alternative antibiotics.

It is important that the patient goes through the full treatment process, even if the symptoms disappear earlier, to prevent recurrence and development of resistance of the bacteria to antibiotics.

To relieve sore throats, which can be intense with scarlet fever, various lozenges or lozenges with a soothing and mild antiseptic effect are suitable.

Icy treats or cool drinks can also help relieve symptoms of pain and tingling.

Rest is just as important as medication. A scarlet fever patient should get more rest to enable the immune system to fight the infection more effectively.

Gargling with warm salt water can be helpful to increase comfort with pain relief and sore throat.

How to protect yourself from the disease

The best preventative measure against scarlet fever is early and appropriate antibiotic treatment for an infection with group A strep bacteria.

This will greatly reduce and even eliminate the chances of developing scarlet fever. The introduction of the widespread use of antibiotics has been the most important factor in reducing the incidence of the disease.

Reducing the risk of transmission of A streptococcal infections is also important. Try to avoid close contact with people who have been diagnosed with strep throat.

Also avoid sending children to school or daycare, at least until 24 hours have passed since the start of antibiotic treatment.

Persons diagnosed with streptococcal pharyngitis should avoid spreading the disease by maintaining high personal hygiene.

They should wash their hands frequently, use separate cups and utensils, and cover their mouths and noses when sneezing or coughing.

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