The Causes, Treatment, and Complications of Scarlet Fever

The Causes, Treatment, and Complications of Scarlet Fever

May 04, 2021

Scarlet fever refers to a bacterial infection that develops in people who have strep throat or strep skin infections. This disease mostly affects children, and some of its symptoms are:

  • Sore throat, which makes swallowing painful
  • Red skin rashes that look like sunburn and make the skin feel rough. It begins on the face or neck, spreads to the trunk, then arms and legs. When pressure is applied to the scarlet rash, it becomes pale.
  • Red and bumpy tongue covered with a whitish coating in the early stages
  • High fever. In case of this, you should seek urgent care for fever at a medical center near you or in San Antonio.
  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, or abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Headache
  • Flushed face

How Do You Get Scarlet Fever?

The bacterium called group A Streptococcus or group A Strep is the cause of this disease. The bacteria release a toxin that causes a red rash and red tongue. The group A Strep lives in the nose and the tongue and can be easily spread to other people.

You can get sick with this disease when you:

  • Drink from the same glass or eat from the same plate as a sick person
  • Touch sores on another person’s skin caused by group A strep. Also, sharing towels, baths, clothes, or bed linen increases the risk.
  • Breath fluid from the mouth and nose. When a person with scarlet fever coughs or sneezes, the bacteria become airborne in water droplets.
  • Touch something with droplets on it, then touch your mouth or nose

Although some individuals do not react to the toxin, they carry and pass on the infection without showing any symptoms.

Scarlet Fever Treatment

Treatment for this disease is important as it accelerates recovery and reduces the risk of complications. Our doctors at our walk-in clinic in TX, 78227, will treat you with antibiotics. Antibiotics help the immune system fight off the bacteria causing the infection. This helps prevent the infection from causing complications. The treatment involves a 10-day course of oral antibiotics, usually penicillin.

The fever goes within 12 to 24 hours of taking the first antibiotic medication, and patients recover within five days after starting the treatment. Our doctors may also prescribe other fever medication to ease the pain of the sore throat.

Home remedies like gargling with salty warm water, eating ice pops, ice creams, or warm soup can also help. You may also humidify to stop irritation from dry air.

Preventing Scarlet Fever

As is the case with several other illnesses, prevention is better than cure. Good hygiene practices are the best way to prevent scarlet fever.

The following are prevention tips that have proven helpful:

  • Isolation or staying away from other people
  • Cover your nose/mouth when sneezing/coughing using a handkerchief
  • Washing your hands anytime you cough or sneeze
  • Avoiding sharing utensils, drinking using the same glass as others, especially in group settings
  • Washing hands after using the restroom
  • Avoiding direct contact with infected persons
  • Thorough and frequent washing of the hands using water and soap

Complications Associated with Scarlet Fever

The scarlet fever rash and other scarlet fever symptoms will be gone in 10 days to 2 weeks with antibiotic treatment. However, some complications may be noticed, and if they do, you’ll have to seek urgent care near you. These complications include:

  • Kidney disease
  • Pneumonia
  • Arthritis
  • Ear infections
  • Skin infections
  • Throat abscess: A complication of untreated strep throat
  • Sinusitis: This is where the cavity around the nasal passages becomes inflamed
  • Rheumatic fever, which refers to inflammatory disease caused by antibody cross-reactivity that affects the heart, joints, skin, and brains

There are complications diagnosed in our Urgent Care Center, but they are rare. These include:

  • Toxic shock syndrome
  • Acute kidney failure
  • Infection of the bone and bone marrow
  • Meningitis. Inflammation of membranes surrounding the brain
  • Heart’s inner lining infection

Diagnosis of Scarlet Fever

Our medical practitioner will conduct a physical exam to check the signs of the fever. During the exam, the doctor will check the condition of your tongue, throat, and tonsils. They will also look for enlarged lymph nodes and examine the texture and appearance. If your doctor suspects you have scarlet fever, they will swab the back of your throat. This will help them collect a sample of their cells for analysis.

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