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Scarlet Fever: Symptoms, Diagnosis,
Scarlet fever is an infection caused by the streptococcus bacteria.
The bacteria cause a large number of infections including strep throat and some skin infections. The streptococcus bacteria are also responsible for certain deep tissue and bone marrow infections. When left untreated, the bacteria can cause the body to have a destructive immune reaction and cause kidney problems and heart damage.
Scarlet fever is most often caused by strep throat. The streptococcus bacteria release a toxin which irritates the skin. This causes the skin to become red with tiny bumps that feel and looks like sandpaper. Not all strains of streptococcus bacteria causes scarlet fever and not all children are sensitive to it.
A doctor will usually make a diagnosis based on the scarlet rash, a medical exam and by taking a throat culture.
Scarlet fever usually disappears within a week without any complications. The streptococcus bacteria are killed with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor.
Symptoms will disappear before the antibiotics are finished, however, it is imperative that the course of antibiotics is finished. The antibiotics kill the bacteria and prevent future complications.
Paracetamol or Ibuprofen will ease pain and reduce a fever.
A person with scarlet fever should drink lots of cool drinks to prevent dehydration.
This is how long it takes from being infected to showing signs and symptoms.
The incubation period for scarlet fever is 2-4 days.
Who Is At Risk?
Scarlet fever is most common in children aged 2-10, but it can affect people of any age.
Scarlet fever is contagious. The bacteria are spread through tiny droplets of saliva that become airborne when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Scarlet fever is sometimes spread by touching.
When a child is sick, keep him/her home for at least 5 days after starting antibiotics. Wash any eating utensils, glasses, mugs etc. separately in warm soapy water.
Possible Complications:Complications are extremely rare, but can be serious. Possible complications include:
Caring for Your Child at Home:
Author: Annemien van Staden
Copyright 2008: Remedium. This article may not be copied, in whole or in part, without the written consent of Remedium.
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