Scarlet Fever
Scarlet Fever (Illustration / / CC BY-SA (

Scarlet Fever: Definition, 9 Symptoms, Causes, Facts, and Diagnosis

Scarlet Fever Definition

Scarlet fever or Scarlatina is a fever characterized by the emergence of red rash on the skin. The disease most often afflicts children aged 5-15 years old. Scarlet fever is usually accompanied by sore throat and high fever. When left untreated, the disease can affect other organs such as the kidneys and heart.

Scarlet fever symptoms

The typical symptom of scarlet fever is a red or pink rash, almost all over the body. This rash looks like the sun burns and feels harsh. Generally the rash starts from the chest and abdomen, then spreads to all areas of the body. The rash will look more red in the folds of the skin, such as the armpit, elbow and knee.

Skin rash usually appears about one week. After these symptoms subside, the skin affected by the rash will peel off.

Some of the other symptoms accompanying scarlet fever are:

  • Fever accompanied by chills.
  • Reddish tongue accompanied by small rashes, or commonly called strawberry tongue.
  • Inflammation accompanied by white or yellowish patches in the throat.
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck.
  • Red face and neck
  • Pale skin around the lips.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Hard to swallow.
  • Headaches.

Scarlet Fever Risk Factors

Some of the risk factors of scarlet fever, among others:

  • Children aged 5-15 years.
  • Environments with high interactions such as inside a home or school.

Causes of Scarlet Fever

Scarlet fever is caused by the same type of bacteria that causes sore throat, i.e. Streptococcus pyogenes. This bacteria can be transmitted through a splash of saliva when a person with scarlet fever is sneezing or cough, drink or food from the same equipment with the people with, objects that have been sprinkled with saliva, and contaminated hands that have not been washed well.

This bacteria releases toxins that cause the red rash on the skin and the tongue to redden. Symptoms can begin to be felt after 2-3 days from exposure to the bacteria.

Scarlet Fever Facts

Scarlet fever easily transmitted

The bacteria cause this disease can be easily transmitted through a splash of saliva from the person who is infected with this disease. The bacteria can also be contagious when sneezing or coughing, through a drink or food from the same equipment with a sufferer, a drooling object, and a contaminated hand that has not been washed well.

Red Rash is the most common symptom

The most common symptom of the disease is the emergence of a red rash that appears 1 to 2 days after the disease begins to infect and generally lasts for 3 to 5 days. 

Antibiotics should be administered to prevent complications

Penicillins or amoxicillin is the drug of choice to treat streptococcal infections. Antibiotic therapy is recommended for 10 to 14 days. People with this disease is required to complete the complete antibiotic treatment to prevent resistance and long-term health problems. Otherwise, it will feel the following conditions:

  • Rheumatic fever.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Otitis media.
  • Dermatitis.
  • Throat abscess.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Arthritis.

Scarlet Fever Diagnosis

Determination of diagnosis of scarlet fever is generally done based on detailed medical interviews, direct physical examinations, and specific supporting examinations when needed.

When a physical examination is performed, the doctor will examine the throat, tonsil, and tongue conditions. In addition, the doctor will also feel the neck to check if there is enlargement of the lymph nodes, as well as assesses the appearance and texture of the skin rash that arises.

If the doctor suspects that fever arising from a throat infection, it can be a support examination in the form of throat swab to take tissues that can contain Streptococcus bacteria.

A tissue swab check is important to identify the cause, as there are many conditions that can cause signs and symptoms of scarlet fever, which may require a different treatment.

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Kawasaki disease: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Last Updated on August 20, 2020 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team