What’s scarlet fever?

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Scarlet fever is a highly contagious infection caused by group A Streptococcus bacterium, commonly affecting children. Symptoms include sore throat, red rash, headache, and swollen glands. Antibiotics are prescribed to treat the infection.

Scarlet fever is an incredibly infectious condition that most often affects children. It used to be quite common and extremely dangerous, but now it is treatable. The disease is caused by the group A Streptococcus bacterium and occurs after an infection of the throat or skin, such as strep throat. Strep infections are commonly treated with antibiotics.
Also known as scarlet fever, scarlet fever most commonly occurs in children between the ages of four and eight, although people of any age can get it. The infection is airborne, which means that the bacteria can be transmitted through the air by sneezing and coughing. Although the bacteria are highly contagious, the disease itself is often relatively mild. Symptoms appear within two to four days of infection.

Scarlet fever symptoms often start with a sore throat, but the most characteristic symptom is a red rash that appears on the body. The rash will be rough to the touch, resembling sandpaper. It is known to spread all over the body, but commonly affects the face, neck, chest and groin area.

When the rash appears on the face, it often makes the cheek area pink and flushed, while the area around the mouth will remain quite pale. People can do a quick disease check by pressing a glass on the red area, which will turn white when pressure is applied. Any suspected cases of scarlet fever should be definitively diagnosed by a doctor.

Several other symptoms can also be seen in people with the infection. They may develop headaches and a general feeling of sickness, as well as loss of appetite and pain in the abdomen. The glands in the neck may become swollen and nausea or vomiting may also occur. Scarlet fever can also cause a white coating on the tongue that may disappear after a few days and leave the tongue swollen and red. Broken blood vessels on the body can also occur, usually in areas such as the armpit.

The rash usually lasts about a week and then goes away without treatment. However, you need to see a doctor, who will often prescribe antibiotics to eliminate any complications and speed up the recovery process. Antibiotics, often an oral penicillin drug, are often prescribed for 10 days, and any fever usually goes away within 24 hours of starting treatment.

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