Michelle Badash, MS
Scarlet fever is an infection which produces a
sore throat, fever, and a specific rash.
Sore Throat Due to Inflammation
© 2009 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.
Scarlet fever is caused by specific bacteria. The bacteria produces a toxin that causes a rash. Scarlet fever usually develops in conjunction with
Factors that may increase the chances of scarlet fever:
Untreated strep infection
Close contact with someone who has an untreated strep infection
Overcrowded conditions, such as a school or daycare
Symptoms may include:
Specific, spreading rash that feels like sand paper
Flushing in the face with paleness around the mouth
Red streaks, called Pastia lines, on elbows, underarms, and body creases
Swollen glands in the neck
Pain in the abdomen
Bright red tongue
In rare cases, untreated strep throat infection may cause:
Spread of the infection to other areas such as the ears, sinuses, or lungs
Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may diagnose scarlet fever by the specific rash. Confirmation of scarlet fever can be done with a throat swab or rapid strep antigen detection test.
The infection that causes scarlet fever can be treated with antibiotics. It is important to take all the prescribed medication. Doing so will prevent scarlet fever from returning, and also prevent complications.
There is no specific treatment for the rash. After the rash fades, the skin peels for several weeks.
To help reduce the chances of scarlet fever:
Avoid contact with people who have untreated strep infections.
Wash your hands frequently.
Have other household members or contacts tested for strep infection.
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Kids Health—Nemours Foundation
http://kidshealth.org CANADIAN RESOURCES:
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
Caring for Kids—Canadian Paediatric Society
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...(Click grey area to select URL) Updated September 2017. Accessed February 15, 2018.
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. Accessed February 15, 2018.
Last reviewed March 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
David L. Horn, MD, FACP Last Updated: 1/13/2014