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If you don’t know exactly what it is, hearing that your child has scarlet fever may cause alarm – but, really, it’s not as scary as it sounds. Once a very serious childhood disease, scarlet fever is basically strep throat with a rash and AdventHealth Centra Care physicians say is What’s Going Around this week. Scarlet Fever is up 300% overall this week among Centra Care locations.
Scarlet fever is caused by infection with the group A Streptococcus bacteria, which is the same bacteria that causes strep throat. Scarlet fever is easily treatable with antibiotics. The time between becoming infected and having symptoms is short, generally 1-2 days. The illness typically begins with a fever and sore throat. The most noticeable symptom of scarlet fever is a red rash that feels like sandpaper. The rash usually appears 24 hours after a fever starts and begins on the chest and abdomen and then spreads over the rest of the body. The rash and redness are more apparent in skin folds, especially in the groin, armpits, and elbow creases. It usually fades in about a week.
SYMPTOMS OF SCARLET FEVER
Other than the rash, the symptoms of scarlet fever are the same as the symptoms of strep throat. If you or your child have any the following symptoms, call your doctor:
- Fever of 101°F or higher
- Sore throat
- White spots on the throat and tonsils
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
Other symptoms that appear before the rash, may include general body aches, headache, stomachache, nausea or vomiting.
After a physical examination, a doctor will perform a throat swab to positively diagnose scarlet fever. Antibiotics are used to kill the bacteria that cause the infection. With proper antibiotic treatment, the symptoms of scarlet fever should get better quickly, but the rash can last for up three weeks before it fully goes away.