Scarlet Fever
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Scarlet Fever: Facts To Know

 Scarlet fever is a disease with symptoms like sore throat and red rashes on the skin. It is a highly infectious disease. One can get infected with the bacteria by touch or else through airborne droplets. Before twentieth century, the disease was known as scarlatina. But from the middle of the twentieth century, the virulence of the disease has become milder and the name has also changed into scarlet fever.

Earlier scarlet fever was considered to be an acute disease which led the patient to convalesce for some months after the onset of the disease. This lay off of the patient was mainly due to the appearance of rheumatic fever or could be the treatment given to the patient. At that time as there were no knowledge of the spread of streptococcus and the treatment required, it was a common practice to destroy or burn all the belongings of the person who was having scarlet fever. This was done to prevent the transmission of the disease to other person.

Cause of Scarlet Fever

The bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes is the cause of having scarlet fever. The other effects of getting infected with this bacterium are simple angina and erysipelas as well as toxin mediated syndromes like necrotizing fasciitis as well as streptococcal toxic shock-like syndrome. The widespread rash which is also known as exanthem is caused by erythrogenic toxin that is produced by specific streptococcal strains among patients who are non-immune to it. Other than erythrogenic toxins, this bacterium produces several other enzymes and toxins. Two important of these are the streptolysins O and S.

Scarlet Fever Symptoms

 Scarlet fever is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes that releases exotoxin. One point to be noted is that not everyone is susceptible to the bacteria and also not every streptococcus produces this type of toxin. The main symptoms of the disease are sore throat, red rash over the upper body that seems like fine sandpaper and having a 'strawberry tongue'. This rash blanches when pressure is applied on it. This red rashness is seen after a period of 12 to 48 hours of incurring the disease. This redness can be seen first on the chest, armpits and on the back of the ears. The areas in the skin folds are the worse effected parts. Even after the disappearance of the rash, there are Pastia lines to be seen in the arm pits and the groins. After a period of three to four days from the onset of the fever, the rash starts to fade away along with the peeling as flakes. Peeling can also be seen in axilla, tips of fingers and groin. The patient has fever as well with temperature hovering between 37 and 40 degrees C.(101 and 104 degrees F).

Though Scarlet fever is not a rheumatic fever, but with the passage of time, may develop in that condition. Those persons who have not received treatment for streptococcal infection, the rate at which rheumatic fever develops is 3%, while for those who received the antibiotics, it is much less.

Patients with scarlet fever show signs of flushed cheeks and there is paleness around the mouth. The early symptoms seen in patient with this disease are Fatigue, Headache, Abdominal pain, Sore throat and Nausea or Vomiting. The pulse of the patient increases and there are enlarged lymph nodes to be seen in the patient. There are punctuated red macules to be seen on the hard and also the soft palate and also the uvula.

Treatment for Scarlet Fever

The best way to prevent having Scarlet fever is to avoid people who are infected with the disease. If by any means you come in contact with an infected person or you doubt to have touched something from which you may incur the disease, then it is advisable to wash your hand instantly.

Once infected with the disease, one should take ample rest and also take in fluid occasionally. Consult the doctor who will give you painkillers as well as other medication to counter the fever. If you are having sore throat, you can eat soft foods. If there is no diarrhea, the treatment given to patients of scarlet fever is same as that of any strep throat. Doctors give antibiotics like penicillin to patients with Scarlet fever. If the patient is showing penicillin allergy, doctors prescribe clindamycin or erythromycin.

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