Scarlet fever is caused by Group A beta-hemolytic
. This type of bacteria produces a toxin that causes a rash. Scarlet fever usually develops in conjunction with
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.
Risk factors include:
Age: 3-15 years old
Untreated strep infection
Close contact with someone who has an untreated strep infection
Overcrowded environments, or close proximity, such as a daycare facility, school, or home
The first signs of strep throat are:
A red, swollen throat
Fever above 101°F
If strep is diagnosed and treated with antibiotics, the infection may progress to scarlet fever.
Swollen glands in the neck
White or yellow coating on the tongue
Bright red tongue ("strawberry tongue")
Loss of appetite
Scarlet fever has a characteristic rash. Small red spots usually appear on the neck and chest within 24-48 hours after onset of the illness. This rash will spread quickly over the body to the abdomen, arms, and legs. The rash feels rough, like sand paper, and the redness blanches with pressure. There may also be flushing in the face with paleness around the mouth. Elbows, underarms, and other body crease areas may show red streaks called "Pastia's lines." In 7-10 days, the rash will peel off.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. The doctor will swab the back of your throat for testing. The sample may be sent to a lab for a throat culture or a rapid strep antigen test ("rapid" strep test) may be done in the office.
Scarlet fever can be treated with an antibiotic, such as penicillin or amoxicillin. It is usually taken for about 10 days. Erythromycin or azithromycin can be used for those with penicillin allergy. It is important to take all the prescribed medication to prevent recurrence or complications. People with an active strep infection are usually contagious until the antibiotic has been taken for at least 24 hours.
In rare cases, untreated strep throat infection may cause:
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a