How is scarlet fever treated?
As scarlet fever is caused by bacteria, once the infection is confirmed, a course of antibiotics may be prescribed, usually penicillin, for up to 10 days. In some situations, a single dose of penicillin may be given by intramuscular injection. Patients allergic to penicillin may be treated with an alternative antibiotic, such as erythromycin.
Other common treatments include:
- Paracetamol when necessary for fever, headache, or throat pain.
- Eating soft foods and drinking plenty of cool liquids, particularly if the throat is very painful.
- Oral antihistamines and emollients to relieve the itch of rash.
- Fingernails may be required to be short on young children to prevent them from damaging the skin due to itching.
- The fever usually improves within 12-24 hours after starting antibiotics and most patients recover after 4-5 days with the clearing of a rash over several weeks.
- Provide adequate fluids and rest to the patient for at least two weeks
- Gargling with lukewarm water and salt
- Humidify the air
- Maintaining a soft and healthy diet
- Avoiding smoke exposure
What are the common symptoms of scarlet fever?
Scarlet fever is a bacterial infection. The distinctive feature of scarlet fever is a sore throat followed by a rash made up of tiny pinkish-red spots that cover the whole body. Scarlet fever occurs mostly in children. The symptoms include:
- A Sore throat that may show white or yellow patches when examined
- Fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, often with chills
- A whitish coating on the surface of the tongue. The tongue may look like a strawberry.
- A rash first appeared as tiny red bumps on the chest and abdomen. The rash may then spread over the body, lasting about two to five days. After the rash, often the skin on the tips of the fingers and toes will peel.
- Flushed face with a pale area around the lips.
- Swollen glands in the neck.
What are the causes of scarlet fever?
The cause of scarlet fever is an infection with group A streptococci (group A strep) bacteria. During the infection, it can produce an erythrogenic (producing a red-colored) toxin. This toxin is responsible for causing the sandpaper-like red-colored skin rash and fever:
- The infection is often passed among classmates at school or among the family members. It's most often spread by droplet contact. The droplets are emitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also spread if a person touches a plate or glass on which these droplets have landed.
- The bacteria usually infect the throat (‘strep throat’) or skin (‘school sores’). The bacteria then release toxins that cause swelling of the skin and lead to the development of the rash.
- This bacterium is usually found in the saliva and mucus of an infected person. When they cough, sneeze or talk, small droplets containing the bacteria are spread through the air and maybe breathed in by nearby people.
- Only a very small number of people infected with group A strep will develop scarlet fever.
- If an individual develops scarlet fever, it usually takes 2-5 days for the symptoms to start after infection.
- Scarlet fever can also be seen after the burns or wounds are infected.
What are the complications of scarlet fever?
If scarlet fever is left untreated or treatment is unsuccessful, the following complications may arise:
How can we prevent scarlet fever?
The only way to prevent scarlet fever is by washing hands and maintains hygiene. It may be recommended not to share plates or utensils with other people, especially in schools and hostels. The best practice that may be followed is that people should cover their nose and mouth with a mask.
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Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
Is Scarlet Fever Contagious?Scarlet fever is contagious when caused by a certain Group A strep bacteria strain. Scarlet fever can be transmitted via person-to-person contact and by coming in contact with contaminated objects. Treatment includes antibiotics. Scarlet fever symptoms include a red rash, fever, a red, sore throat, strawberry tongue, and others.
Scarlet Fever (Scarlatina)Scarlet fever, a bacterial infection caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria, causes symptoms and signs such as fever, rash with a sandpaper-like texture, and sore throat. Oral penicillin is the standard treatment for scarlet fever, or scarlatina.
Scarlet Fever PictureA skin condition that is due to a streptococcal sore throat or any other streptococcal infection. The group A streptococcal bacteria produce a toxin that causes a scarlet rash that initially appears on the neck and chest, then spreads over the body, and lasts around 3 days. As the rash fades, desquamation (peeling) may occur around the fingertips, toes, and groin area. Scarlet fever is usually not a serious illness when treated promptly with antibiotics such as penicillin. However, untreated streptococcal infection can cause kidney inflammation (glomerulonephritis) and rheumatic fever. Also known as scarlatina. Shown is desquamation of skin from hands: a symptom of scarlet fever. Desquamation also called skin peeling, is the shedding of the outermost membrane or layer of a tissue, such as the skin.
What Causes Scarlet Fever and What Are the Long-Term Effects?Scarlet fever is a bacterial infection that causes a red rash. Learn more about scarlet fever, symptoms of scarlet fever, how doctors diagnose scarlet fever, and long-term effects of scarlet fever.