Scarlet fever: Causes, symptoms, treatment, and complications

Scarlet fever: Causes, symptoms, treatment, and complications

Scarlet fever, also known as scarlatina caused by a toxin released by a bacteria and develop an infection that can develop in people who have strep throat.

What is scarlet fever?

Scarlet fever, also known as scarlatina, is an illness that can evolve in people who have strep throat. It’s illustrated by a glowing red rash on the body, usually attended by a high fever and sore throat. The exact bacteria that provoke strep throat also cause scarlet fever.

Scarlet fever especially impacts children between the ages of 5 and 15 years. It used to be a severe childhood illness, but it’s usually less precarious today. Antibiotic treatments used before on in the sickness have enabled speed recovery and reduced the harshness of the symptoms.

Facts on scarlet fever

Here are some key attributes of scarlet fever. This article at Doctor Hostel has more details about it.

  • Scarlet fever is slightly more common now than in the past, but eruptions still occur.
  • The bacteria that induce strep throat is also accountable for scarlet fever.
  • It can be successfully feted with antibiotics.
  • The immediate symptoms are a rash, a sore throat, and a fever.


Scarlet fever (known as scarlatina in elder literature references) is a syndrome described by exudative pharyngitis fever and bright-red exanthem. It is compelled by streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxins (SPEs) types A, B, and C produced by group A beta-hemolytic streptococci (GABHS) discovered in secretions and released from the nose, ears, throat, and skin. Scarlet fever may ensue streptococcal wound conditions or burns, as well as upper respiratory tract infections. Food-borne outbreaks have been proclaimed. The reemergence of the circumstances is being acknowledged, perhaps because of the more recent virulence of the streptococcal bacteria.

Overview of Scarlet Fever

A rash is the most typical sign of scarlet fever in both adults and children. It usually initiates as a red-spotted rash and evolves fine and rough like sandpaper. The scarlet-coloured rash is what presents scarlet fever in its name. The rash can begin up to two to three days before a person senses ill or up to seven days after.

The rash generally begins on the neck, groin, and under the arms. It then circulates to the rest of the body. The folds of skin in the armpits, elbows, and knees can also evolve into a more serious red than the surrounding skin.

After the rash has decreased, about seven days, the skin on the guidance of the fingers and toes and in the groin may peel. This can stay for several weeks.


Other typical symptoms of scarlet fever include:

  • red wrinkles in the armpits, elbows, and knees (Pastia’s lines)
  • flushed face
  • strawberry tongue, or a white tongue with red dots on the exterior
  • red, sore throat with white or light-yellow patches
  • fever exceeding 101°F (38.3°C)
  • chills
  • headaches
  • swollen tonsils
  • nausea and vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • swollen glands along the neck
  • pale skin near the lips
  • itching

If severe muscle pains, vomiting, or diarrhoea arise, the doctor will need to rule out other possible causes, such as toxic shock syndrome (TSS).

The skin of the hands and feet will peel for up to 6 weeks after the rash has shifted.

Cause of scarlet fever

Scarlet fever is provoked by the bacterium S. pyogenes, or group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus, the exact bacterium that causes strep throat.

When the bacteria discharge toxins, scarlet fever symptoms appear.

How is it spread?

Scarlet fever is passed on via fluids from the mouth and nose. When somebody with scarlet fever coughs or sneezes, the bacteria evolve airborne in droplets of water.

Another person can receive it by inhaling these droplets or by touching something the droplets land on, such as an entrance handle, and then touching the nose and mouth.

Touching the skin of a person with a streptococcal skin condition can also spread infection. Sharing towels, baths, clothes, or bed linen with an infected individual increases the risk.

An individual with scarlet fever who is not treated may be transmittable for several weeks, even after symptoms have driven.

Some people do not respond to the toxin. They can bear and pass on the infection without indicating any symptoms. Only those who respond to the toxin will develop symptoms.

This makes it hard for somebody to comprehend if they have been exposed.

typically, an infection may occur via touching or consuming infected food, especially milk.

The bacteria can disperse more easily among people in the nearest contact, for example at school, home, or work.

Is scarlet fever infectious?

The infection can outspread two to five days before someone feels ill and may be dispersed through contact with droplets from an infected person’s saliva, nasal secretions, sneeze, or cough. This indicates that any person can acquire scarlet fever if they reach into direct contact with these infected droplets and then feel their own mouth, nose, or eyes.

Complications associated with scarlet fever

In most cases, the rash and other symptoms of scarlet fever will be gone in about 10 days to 2 weeks with an antibiotic cure. However, scarlet fever can induce severe complications. These can include:

  • rheumatic fever
  • kidney illness(glomerulonephritis)
  • ear infections
  • throat blemishes
  • pneumonia
  • arthritis

Ear infections, throat blemishes, and pneumonia can best be avoided if scarlet fever is treated promptly with the appropriate antibiotics. Other difficulties are known to be the offshoot of the body’s immune response to the condition rather than the bacteria themselves.

The following complications are possible but very irregular:

  • acute kidney failure
  • meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes wrapping the brain and spinal cord
  • necrotizing fasciitis, a serious flesh-eating illness
  • toxic shock syndrome
  • endocarditis, an infection of the heart’s internal lining
  • Illness of the bone and bone marrow, known as osteomyelitis

Another threat is known as pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal (PANDAS) diseases.


A doctor can usually diagnose scarlet fever by examining the signs and symptoms.

A throat swab may help confine which bacteria provoked the infection. Occasionally a blood test is also collected.

The sample will then be sent to a laboratory to contrast whether group A Streptococcus is present. There’s also an instantaneous throat swab test that can be conducted in the office. This may help specify a group A strep infection while you wait.

Treatment for scarlet fever

Scarlet fever is treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics destroy bacteria and assist the body’s immune system fight off the bacteria provoking the infection. Make sure you or your child finish the entire course of the specified medication. This will help control the infection from causing complications or continuing further.

Most mild cases of scarlet fever determine themselves within a week without treatment.

However, treatment is necessary, as this will accelerate healing and decrease the risk of complications.

Treatment generally involves a 10-day course of oral antibiotics, usually penicillin.

The fever will usually go within 12 to 24 hours of accepting the first antibiotic medication, and patients normally heal 4 to 5 days after starting the treatment.

Patients who are allergic to penicillin may accept erythromycin or another antibiotic rather.

If the patient does not start feeling more satisfactory within 24 to 48 hours after starting the antibiotic treatment, they should reach a doctor.

Preventing scarlet fever

The best ways to prevent communication of scarlet fever and other infectious illnesses are:

  • Practising good hygiene is the best way to control scarlet fever. 
  • Wash your hands before meals and after using the toilet.
  • Clean your hands anytime you cough or sneeze.
  • Wrap your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing.
  • Don’t share spoons and drinking glasses with others, specifically in group environments.

Managing your symptoms at home: 

Scarlet fever must be treated with antibiotics. However, there is something you can do to help ease the symptoms and despair that come with scarlet fever. Here are occasional home remedies to try:

  • Drink warm teas or broth-based soups to support soothe your throat.
  • Try smooth foods or a liquid diet if eating is painful.
  • Stay away from annoyances in the air, such as pollution.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Try a saltwater gargle for throat pain.
  • Improve Iron Deficiency
  • Reference CDC Heath
  • Also Read about HBP
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