Scarlet fever

The reasons


Scarlet fever symptoms


Scarlet fever treatment

Complications and prognosis

Scarlet fever is an acute infection. streptococcal origin, belonging to the category of children.

Scarlet fever appears a complex of typical manifestations, the formation of complications and subsequent persistent immunity.

The reasons

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The main cause of scarlet fever is a special type of streptococcus – beta-hemolytic (group A). It is a pathogenic microbe that lives in the nasopharynx or on the skin of adults, it can cause purulent processes –   angina, erysipelas, and in children with primary infection gives the development of scarlet fever.

Most often, children are sick from one year to 10 years, most often it happens in the autumn-winter period with a decrease in general immunity. Transmitted infection:

  • airborne (coughing, sneezing, cry)
  • contact (dirty hands, common toys),
  • food (microbes in milk, food, juices).

The contagiousness of streptococcus is high, and during epidemics in organized groups, up to 90% of children fall ill.

Kids under one year old rarely suffer from scarlet fever due to the presence of maternal antibodies, which gradually disappear closer to the year. Sick children are contagious from the first to 21 days of illness.


Streptococcus group a, depending on age and location, can cause:

at primary infection in children of scarlet fever,

with re-infection in children and adults with tonsillitis,

when infected skin – wound infection and erysipelas.

Scarlet fever symptoms

The period of incubation of scarlet fever lasts from 5 to 7 days, and therefore children who have been in contact with a patient and who have not previously been ill are isolated for a week in quarantine.

The period of prodromal phenomena ( pre-painful symptoms) can last up to three days and is manifested by whims, lethargy, and malaise.

The very height of scarlet fever appears acutely with a rise in temperature of up to 38–40 degrees, the appearance of headaches, chills, indisposition, and refusal to eat. There may be nausea and vomiting.

After 10-12 hours, a characteristic rash begins to appear on the skin of the body – it has the appearance of bright pink dots and spots on reddened skin. The rash is most pronounced

  • in the face area
  • on the side surfaces of the body,
  • in the area of ​​the folds of the skin in the groin,
  • armpits and between the buttocks.

One of the typical signs of scarlet fever is the presence of a sharp contrast between pale, unaffected skin and bright red areas, and on the face of the nasolabial triangle, free from rashes, stands out against the background of glowing bright cheeks. Eyes usually shine because of fever, and the face itself is somewhat swollen.

One of the constant symptoms of scarlet fever is the development of angina with a lesion of the soft palate, a sharp increase in the tonsils, on the surface of which a white or yellow bloom forms inside the lacunae.

Lymph nodes – submandibular, upper cervical and behind-ear – react sharply to the sore throat, they increase and become painful when probing.

With scarlet fever, the rash begins to disappear in 3-5 days, after its disappearance there is no pigmentation. After 1-2 weeks, peeling is found on the skin. First, peel off the skin of the neck and folds, and then all surfaces. Especially typical is the peeling of the skin on the feet and palms, which starts from the nails, spreading over the fingers on the palm and above. On palms and soles, the skin may be covered with thin layers.

Changes in the tongue are typical – at the beginning of the disease it is coated with white bloom, gradually clearing by 2-3 days, and from the fourth day of the disease it becomes red saturated with a thickening of the papillae – “crimson tongue”.

In severe scarlet fever, there may be lesions of the nervous system with depression or agitation, delusions and impairments of consciousness, and there may be lesions of the heart.

Due to the timely use of antibiotics today, rarely are severe forms of the disease. But scarlet fever can join infectious-allergic lesions of the kidneys, heart or joints from the second week of illness. This is usually the case in school-age children.


The basis of the diagnosis is a clinical picture of the disease indicating contact with a child with scarlet fever, or with an adult with a sore throat. Confirmation of the diagnosis is carried out at laboratory seeding of streptococcus at the intake of smear from the throat.

Differentiate scarlet fever is necessary from  measles, sore throats , roseola and other childhood infections with skin rashes.

Scarlet fever treatment

Scarlet fever is treated by pediatricians or infectious disease specialists at home or in case of a serious condition in the hospital. A child is isolated from other children, contact with a sick child is isolated for quarantine for a week.

Separate ware, bedding and hygiene are necessary for a child infected with scarlet fever. Bed rest is attributed to all the time antibiotics are taken. A sparing diet is needed – a warm, wiped-up, non-irritating food, only a warm drink, no hot drink. You need to drink a lot to reduce intoxication.

The main antibiotics for the treatment of scarlet fever are penicillins, in the home apply a suspension or tablet.

If you are allergic to penicillins, erythromycin is used.

To reduce allergization under the action of streptococcus antihistamines are used (suprastin, tavegil), calcium supplements, vitamins are necessary, especially ascorbic acid.

Angina scarlet fever treated using rinse solutions, sprays treated – bioparoks, miramistin, gesksoral, Tantum Verde. Apply medicinal herbs – chamomile decoction, calendula or sage tincture.

Complications and prognosis

The main complications include the development of infectious-allergic lesions of the kidneys ( glomerulonephritis ), heart or joints. With the introduction of antibiotics, complications are rare.

On average, recovery occurs within 2 weeks, the prognosis is favorable.

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