Scarlet fever in children | What is it, symptoms and how is it spread?


The scarlet fever or scarlet fever It is an infectious disease characteristic of children, especially in 2 and 8 years old. Its main characteristic is a rash, normally associated with certain angina (acute pharyngitis).

What is the cause?

The cause of scarlet fever is bacteria beta-hemolytic streptococcus of group A (pyoneges). This micro-organism secretes a lard which causes the eruption or exanthema. On rare occasions, scarlet fever can be recorded from a wound infected with the microbe, although angina pectoris is not reported in these cases.

What symptoms does it give?

Symptoms usually appear after an incubation period of 2 to 5 days. These are usually these:

  1. High fever. More than 38.5 ºC for a minimum of three days and a maximum of five.

  2. tonsils and sore throat (usually with patches of pus on the tonsils).

  3. Abdominal pain, vomiting and headache.

  4. Acne. It can appear up to two days after the onset of fever. It is usually a reddish rash that is itchy when touched. It initially appears on the face and neck, then spreads to the chest and extremities. It can last a week.

  5. Tongue with a ‘raspberry’ appearance. (It is occasional and leaves the tongue whitish with reddish markings)

How is it contagious?

The most common form of contagion is through droplets of respiratory secretions from a sick person. You can also infect an asymptomatic carrier. The other way of contagion is the one mentioned above: by infection of a wound.

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis is usually based on evaluation of skin rashes and angina pectoris. An antigen test can also be done to detect strep throat.

Treatment is with oral antibiotics. If the rash is itchy, an antihistamine may be given, also by mouth.

Can it be avoided?

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Preventive measures can be taken when a case is known. It is advisable to adopt these precautions:

  1. Wash one’s hands after contact with the patient.

  2. avoid going to class until the fever goes down.

  3. Avoid close contact with children diagnosed with scarlet fever.

Can you get it more than once?

Since there are at least three different types of toxins, the same person can suffer from scarlet fever several times if it is generated by a toxin for which he has not developed antibodies.

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