Scarlet Fever Treatment Cambridge, OH
Many of us have heard its name muttered, but what is scarlet fever exactly? Scarlet fever, also known as scarlatina, is an infection caused by toxins released by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes (the same organism involved in strep throat). The condition is associated primarily with a red rash which covers most of the body, a sore throat and high fever. Scarlet fever most commonly affects children aged 5-15, though scarlet fever in adults also may occur in rarer instances.
Scarlet fever is contagious and poses a risk to those around you, signaling the importance of addressing your condition with a healthcare provider. Left untreated, scarlet fever poses serious risk for health conditions affecting the heart, kidneys and other parts of the body. To schedule a consultation with a qualified healthcare provider in Cambridge that specializes in scarlet fever treatment, call (740) 439-3515 or contact Dr. Rebecca Brauch online.
Scarlet Fever Causes
Caused by the same bacteria involved in strep throat, Streptococcus pyogenes, toxins are released to produce a rash and red tongue. Although not all streptococci bacteria make the toxin which causes scarlet fever, nor are all kids are sensitive to it, a healthcare provider treating your child's strep throat (during which time scarlet fever would develop) can determine if scarlet fever is a potential health concern for you or your child.
In scarlet fever, contagious toxins spread from person to person via droplets expelled when an infected person coughs or sneezes. When left untreated, scarlet fever causes other body parts such as the tonsils, lungs, skin, kidneys, blood and middle ear to become infected and poses a serious health threat. Rheumatic fever, in rarer cases, may be caused by scarlet fever and its risk can be determined and discussed with your healthcare provider.
Scarlet Fever Symptoms
Typical scarlet fever symptoms include:
- Rash: Scarlet fever rash is the hallmark symptom of the condition and may appear like a sunburn and feel like sandpaper (and may pale when pressure is applied to the reddened skin). The rash begins on the face and neck and may spread to the trunk, arms and legs.
- Red lines: The folds of skin surrounding the groin, armpits, elbows, knees and neck may become a deeper red than the surrounding rash.
- Flushed face: Your face may appear flushed with a pale ring around your mouth.
- Red tongue (sometimes called strawberry tongue for its likeness): In early stages of scarlet fever, your tongue may appear red, bumpy and covered with a white coating.
Typically lasting about a week, when the initial rash and redness in the face and tongue subside, skin affected by the rash may peel. Additional symptoms may include:
- Fever of 101°F (38°C) or higher, often associated with chills
- Sore throat, sometimes associated with white or yellow patches
- Difficulty swallowing
- Enlarged glands in the neck (lymph nodes) that are tender to the touch
- Nausea and vomiting
Scarlet Fever Diagnosis
If your healthcare provider suspects you or your child suffers from scarlet fever, a physical exam to inspect for scarlet fever signs will be conducted. Your healthcare provider will check the condition of the tongue, throat and tonsils, and look for enlarged lymph nodes as well as examine the appearance of the rash. If your healthcare provider suspects scarlet fever, he or she will take a sample from the back of your or your child's throat and perform a throat culture, a laboratory analysis in which the group A streptococcus bacterium is confirmed.
Scarlet Fever Treatment
Antibiotics are typically prescribed for both strep throat and scarlet fever to stimulate your body's immune system to fight off the bacteria causing the infection. It is important to complete the prescription entirely to ensure recurring infection is prevented. Over-the-counter medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen can help control the fever associated with the condition. Scarlet fever treatment might also include medications to soothe your sore throat.
Preventing Scarlet Fever
While treatable, preventing scarlet fever is always the best approach to ensure unneeded infection does not spread. To prevent scarlet fever, it is important to:
- Wash your hands before meals and after using the restroom
- Always cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing to prevent the spread of germs
- Avoid sharing drinking glasses and utensils with others, especially in a group setting
If you are affected by scarlet fever, it is important to avoid public settings (such as going to work) for 24 hours, until your fever subsides, to ensure the infection doesn't spread; by that same token, if your child is plagued by scarlet fever, keep them out of school for a 24 hour period. Schedule a consultation with a qualified healthcare provider in Cambridge that specializes in scarlet fever treatment. Call (740) 439-3515 or contact Dr. Rebecca Brauch online.
Medical Associates of Cambridge, Inc.
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Cambridge, OH 43725
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