Scarlet fever is a bacterial infection that primarily affects children aged between 5 to 15 years. It is caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes, which is the same bacteria responsible for strep throat. Scarlet fever got its name from the characteristic rash that appears on the body and looks like a bright red sunburn or rash. Scarlet fever can be easily treated with antibiotics, but it can lead to serious complications if left untreated.
In this article, we will discuss what scarlet fever is, what causes it, and what the common signs and symptoms are.
What is Scarlet Fever?
Scarlet fever is an infection caused by the Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. The bacteria produce a toxin that causes the characteristic red rash associated with the condition. Scarlet fever is most commonly seen in children aged between five to 15 years, but it can affect people of any age.
The bacteria are highly contagious and can be spread through coughing and sneezing. It can also be spread by sharing utensils, cups, and other items with someone who has the infection. The incubation period for scarlet fever is typically between two to four days.
What Causes Scarlet Fever?
Scarlet fever is caused by a bacterial infection. The Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria produce a toxin that causes the characteristic rash. The bacteria can be spread through coughing and sneezing or by sharing utensils, cups, and other items with someone who has the infection.
Risk Factors for Scarlet Fever
Anyone can get scarlet fever, but it is more common in children aged between five to 15 years. Other risk factors for scarlet fever include:
- Living in crowded conditions
- Poor hygiene
- Weakened immune system
- Exposure to someone with strep throat or scarlet fever
Signs and Symptoms of Scarlet Fever
The signs and symptoms of scarlet fever typically appear within one to two days after exposure to the bacteria. The symptoms of scarlet fever are similar to those of strep throat, but with the addition of a red rash. The common signs and symptoms of scarlet fever include:
- Sore throat
- Abdominal pain
- Swollen glands in the neck
- A bright red rash that feels rough to the touch and looks like a sunburn
The rash usually starts on the chest and stomach and then spreads to other parts of the body, including the arms, legs, and face. The rash is typically worse in the skin folds, such as the armpits and groyne.
The tongue may also become red and swollen, a condition known as "strawberry tongue." The tongue may also have white or yellow spots on it.
Also read: 7 Signs Of Polycystic Kidney Disease
Complications of Scarlet Fever
Most cases of scarlet fever can be treated with antibiotics, and the symptoms usually improve within a few days. However, if left untreated, scarlet fever can lead to serious complications, including:
- Rheumatic fever
- Kidney damage
- Abscesses in the throat
- Ear infections
- Sinus infections
Treatment for Scarlet Fever
Scarlet fever is typically treated with antibiotics, which can help to reduce the symptoms and prevent complications. The most commonly used antibiotics for scarlet fever are penicillin and amoxicillin. These antibiotics are usually given for 10 days.