16 Serious Symptoms Of Scarlet Fever In Children

scarlet fever in children

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Scarlet fever is a condition where a child develops a distinct rash on his body. Earlier, this was known as Scarlatina. It was one of the most dreaded and serious childhood diseases.

With the discovery of new medicines, Scarlet fever can be treated and it is less dangerous too. All you need to do is to seek immediate medical advice if you find any symptom of this fever in your kid.

What Causes Scarlet Fever In Children?

Scarlet fever is a condition wherein a child develops a distinct rash accompanied with high fever.

  • This rash feels like sandpaper.
  • The fever is caused due to throat infection.
  • This throat infection is in turn caused by a bacterium called streptococcus.
  • There are different types of streptococcus. Group A streptococcus is the one responsible for scarlet fever.

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How The Rashes Are Formed?

The streptococcal bacteria are responsible for scarlet fever rash in children.

  • It releases a kind of toxin or poison which causes redness in the skin and develop rashes.
  • These toxins then get into the child’s blood from the infected throat.

Who Can Get Scarlet Fever?

Anyone can get this fever, but largely children up to the age of 15 years are more likely to suffer.

  • Scarlet fever is found rare in people above 18 years of age.
  • Children of age group 2 to 4 years mostly suffer from Scarlet fever.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Scarlet Fever In Children:

Here are few tell-tale signs that will help you identify whether your child is suffering from scarlet fever or not:

  1. Sore throat
  2. High fever or body temperature
  3. A bright red rash somewhere on the body. Usually, on the neck or upper chest
  4. The rash feels like a sandpaper
  5. It slowly spreads to other body parts
  6. The tongue may look pale because of coating with red spots
  7. Soon complete tongue will look red – often referred to as ‘strawberry tongue’
  8. Vomiting
  9. Nausea
  10. Headache
  11. Abdominal pain
  12. Chills
  13. Painful swallowing
  14. Feeling sick
  15. Swollen glands on the neck
  16. White coating on the tonsils or back of the throat

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Preventing Scarlet Fever:

Scarlet fever is contagious. Hence, care must be taken to prevent it from spreading further. Though it is difficult to prevent these bacteria from spreading further, still a few simple things mentioned below might help you:

  • Keep the affected child’s drinking glass and utensils separate from others in the family.
  • Wash the utensils thoroughly each time.
  • If you are the care giver of the child, always wash your hands as frequently as possible.
  • Streptococcus bacterial infection can pass by contact of skin, so avoid the contact with infected area as much as possible.
  • Even an airborne droplet of the infected person’s sneeze of cough can cause the infection.
  • Keep your child away from others. This should be followed until after 24 hours of starting the antibiotic course.


Scarlet fever should never be left untreated. It is highly advisable to seek your doctor’s advice as soon as possible. If left untreated, scarlet fever can actually have serious consequences and complications later. So seek your doctor’s advice immediately. Take a look at the treatment of Scarlet fever:

1. Antibiotics:

Your doctor might advise antibiotics to fasten your child’s recovery. He will advice a course of antibiotics for ten days which must be taken on time.

2. Soft Food:

It is advised that you give soft foods to your child. This will release the pain that he might otherwise experience while chewing

3. Liquids And Fluids:

Drinking cool liquids, milk shakes, soft drinks and even ice cream is also important. This will soothe the sore throat and its pain. Make your child drink as much water as possible as plenty of fluids and juices are important for recovering soon. Warm soups, tea and green tea can also help soothe glands and throat.

We highly recommend keeping your child’s nails trimmed so they don’t itch and damage the skin. A moist towel around your child’s neck may also help soothe swollen glands.

When To Call The Doctor?

If you notice the rash suddenly which is accompanied by high fever, visit the doctor immediately. Also check for the following:

Notice if your child has swollen glands, throat infection or sore throat and contact doctor as soon as possible.

If someone in your family or someone at your child’s school has got a Streptococcus infection, you must visit your doctor soon.

If not treated well, scarlet fever can lead to:

  • Sinus
  • Throat infection with a collection of abscess
  • Infection of the ear
  • Pneumonia
  • Brain abscess
  • Meningitis

Complications of scarlet fever in children can lead to:

  • Rheumatic fever – this fever can be harmful for the heart too
  • Kidney damage

It generally takes around 2 to 4 days for a child to develop all the symptoms of Scarlet fever after being infected. Further takes around 11 to 12 days to get cured completely.

This fever rarely comes back. So there is nothing to worry about a relapse. But it is very essential to be careful as there are various types of streptococcal bacteria and they can have different effects too. So be careful and take preventive measures.

Hope this article helped you in knowing scarlet fever. If you have more details to add on, please share them by commenting below.

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