A leading cause of death for children during the 20th century, the notorious Scarlet fever, is making a comeback in the West. Also known as ‘scarlatina,’ this disease is caused by the Streptococcus Pyogenes bacteria, which is also responsible for strep throat . The name ‘scarlet’ comes from the bright red rash that covers the entire body of a person that is diagnosed with this illness. Scarlet fever is most commonly witnessed in children between the ages of 5 and15 years.
In the past, Scarlet fever was deemed the ‘child-killer’ illness since it was the leading cause of death in infants during the Victorian-era. This disease was thought to have been eradicated during the end of the 20th century. However, doctors all around the world, especially in the UK, are witnessing an astounding increase in the number of cases of children who have contracted this infectious disease (2). More than 17,000 cases of Scarlet fever have been recorded over the last three years in the UK alone.
It is really important for parents to recognize the symptoms of Scarlet fever in their children at an early stage. Fortunately, antibiotic treatments can help cure children of this deadly disease. However, if a child is diagnosed with Scarlet fever at an advanced stage, their kidneys, heart and other major organs in the body can be under danger .
Below are six signs that may help you identify of your child has Scarlet fever:
1: Red rashes
These rashes begin to appear on the face before spreading onto the limbs and other parts of the body. The rashes make the skin appear as though it has been burned by the sun and feels extremely rough to touch.
2: Red lines
The skin at the region of the joints such as the groin area, the neck, armpits, elbows and the knees turn a deeper red as compared to the rest of the body.
3: Flushed face
Your child’s face may appear bright red same way as people blush. You may also notice a pale white ring around your child’s mouth.
4: Strawberry tongue
This symptom is noticed during the early stages of the disease. The tongue appears to turn bright red and you may be able to notice bumps on the tongue making it look like a strawberry. Some children’s tongues may also be covered in a white coating that is sticky in appearance.
5: High fever
A fever greater than 101o F (38.3o C) and is often accompanied by chills/shivers is a sign that your child may have contracted the Scarlet fever.
6: Sore throat
Scarlet fever causes the throat to appear sore and red. There may also be white or yellowish regions at the back of the throat. Your child may complain about severe pain while coughing and swallowing.
If your child is displaying multiple symptoms from the list mentioned above, you should immediately rush to see a doctor. To help prevent the spread of this infection to others in the family, make sure your child does not come into physical contact with others. Ask your child to cover their mouth when coughing/sneezing. Make sure your child’s nails are cut to avoid them scratching their rashes.
Once a doctor has prescribed your child antibiotics, you can help soothe their pain by feeding them warm apple cider vinegar. The acetic conditions help kill germs and also soothe a painful and sore throat.
As parents, we can help make our child’s life easier during these hard times. It is our responsibility to ensure that our child takes necessary precautions such as washing their hands regularly to help reduce the risk of illness. Be a vigilant mommy!
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