As defined by Healthline.com, scarlet fever (also known as scarlatina) is a form of infection that can develop in people who have strep throat. It is usually marked by a large and bright red rash over the body as well as a high fever and a sore throat. According to Health Line, the same bacteria that causes strep throat is also the cause of scarlet fever. Furthermore, scarlet fever tends to affect mostly children between the ages of 5 to 15 years old.
Public Health England recently reported that the number of cases in 2018 has increased. In the week of January 28, there were a reported 735 cases (which is the largest one-week outbreak since April of 2017). This infection usually occurs in the winter or spring so Public Health England expects these cases to taper off later in the year.
While modern antibiotics have made strep throat and scarlet fever much less deadly than in the past, the bacteria is still evolving and adapting. As reported on Kid’s Health, the bacteria that causes strep throat (streptococcus) releases a toxin within the body which then develops into scarlet fever. Then, rashes form on the chest, face, back, and neck and begin to peel about 6 days or a week after. The rashes are usually similar in appearance to that of a sunburn.
Some common symptoms for scarlet fever include red rashes, sore throat, itchy skin, abdominal pain, flushed face, high fever, strawberry tongue (marked with white dots on the tongue,) chills, swollen tonsils, pale skin around the lips and swollen neck glands.
Scarlet fever is contagious so make sure you or your child are quarantined from the public if you have it. It can be transmitted via a sneeze or a cough so make sure not to share any food or drinks with people who have scarlet fever or strep throat.
Some common treatments that are provided for scarlet fever include antibiotics and over the counter medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen to control the fever. Medication may also be prescribed for the sore throat but sometimes drinking warm soup or eating ice cream can be just as soothing. Gargling salt water and using a cool air humidifier can help decrease the pain of the sore throat.
And it is absolutely essential to drink plenty of water to remain hydrated and to meticulously wash your hands so that the bacteria won’t continue to spread. Cover your mouth when coughing and sneezing and make sure not to share any utensils or drinking glasses with others.