Scarlet fever

Scarlet fever

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Scarlet fever is due to a throat infection by streptococcus. It is important to note that there are various strains of streptococcus that can cause different infections. The strain known as group A streptococcus is responsible for causing most cases of scarlet fever.

scarlet fever
The scarlet fever rash manifest once the bacteria releases toxins that causes skin redness.

The toxins enter the bloodstream from the infected throat. The condition is quite common among children below 10 years, usually at 4 years.

Indications of scarlet fever

  • Sore throat and fever are the initial symptoms.
  • Bright rash that starts as small-sized, red spots on the neck and upper chest. It has a sandpaper-like texture and later spreads to other parts of the body. The rash turns white or blanches if pressed. The face can appear flushed but the skin around the lips, eyes and nose are spared from this rash.
  • Tongue appears pale but coated with red spots. The tongue appears red after a few days.
  • Other symptoms include vomiting, headache, appetite loss and generalized feeling of being sick.

The fever and sore throat usually lasts for a few days and eventually eases. The rash can last for about 6 days and then settles. As the rash subsides, some of the skin might peel, usually on the feet and hands. Nevertheless, not all cases involve rashes since some are not sensitive to the toxins.


Treatment is necessary to hasten the recovery period as well as prevent any complications.


A course of antibiotics taken for 10 days is usually advised. The symptoms typically improve in a few days but it is vital to complete the course.

How to manage fever

  • Paracetamol can be given to reduce the temperature. It helps ease the discomfort as well as the headache and aches.
  • Remove extra layers of clothes if in a room in normal temperature. The objective is to prevent overheating or shivering.
  • Increase the intake of fluids to prevent dehydration.


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