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 just strep throat with a rash and it’s what Centra Care docs say is What’s Going Around this week.
Sand Lake, Lake Buena Vista, and Winter Park Centra Care locations saw an increase in the number of patients diagnosed with Scarlet Fever.
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.
Other than the rash, the symptoms of Scarlet Fever are the same as the symptoms of strep throat. If you or your child has any of the following symptoms, call your doctor:
• Sore throat
• Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
• Fever of 101°F or higher
• White spots on the throat and tonsils
Other symptoms that appear before the rash, especially in children, 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 to three weeks before it fully goes away.