10 Symptoms of Scarlet Fever

By james
Reviewed: Dr. Gromatzky
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Strep throat is an infection of the throat that is caused by the Streptococcus bacteria. In some cases, that illness can go on to develop into scarlet fever, which is also known as scarlatina. It is found mostly in children between the ages of 5 and 15.

In the past, scarlet fever used to be widely feared because it was a very dangerous disease. Nowadays, though, modern medicines mean that it poses far less of a risk. Regardless, it can still cause some unpleasant symptoms that are very uncomfortable for children.

It is not completely harmless and getting treatment early will improve recovery times and reduce the severity of symptoms. Below are 10 symptoms of scarlet fever to look out for.

Symptom #1: Rash

Perhaps the most noticeable of all symptoms of scarlet fever, and something that is closely associated with the disease, is the rash that it causes. After a few days of contracting the disease, the patient can develop a rash that covers much of their body. The rash will usually first appear on the face and neck and can spread to the arms, legs, and the torso.

The rash will typically look as though the patient has sunburn. It will also often have a texture similar to sandpaper. The rash will usually turn pale if enough pressure is added to an affected area.

Scarlet Fever

Symptom #2: Pastia’s Lines

In and around the joints of our limbs and some other locations you will find crease lines where the skin gets folded regularly. While these are noticeable, they don’t usually stand out at all and are typically the same color as the rest of the skin. However, this is not usually the case in patients with scarlet fever.

Patient’s with the disease are likely to develop what is known as Pastia’s lines. This when the crease lines around folds in the skin become visibly red. These are nothing to be concerned about and will fade as the scarlet fever is treated.

Symptom #3: Sore Throat

The tissues in the throat are often the site of an infection. After all, the throat is often exposed to pathogens. Infections in this area can be very painful as the tissues are soft and delicate. It is not helped that we will still need to swallow our food, which can add significantly to the pain.

A sore throat is a common symptom of scarlet fever, and it can be very sore indeed. The throat is also likely to appear very red and will also have patches of yellow or white. Remedies are available that can help to soothe the pain.

Scarlet Fever

Symptom #4: Fever

Scarlet fever is often mistaken for influenza to begin with because the two share some similar symptoms. One of these symptoms is a fever, which will be above 101°F. It can be uncomfortable, particularly for young children, but a fever is not usually something to worry about in itself.

A fever is actually a mechanism that helps to protect us against disease. That said, it can rise to dangerously high levels sometimes and young patients should be monitored to make sure it does not go too high. Children that are particularly vulnerable, such as the very weak and very young, should be given special attention.

Symptom #5: Nausea

That feeling as though you are about to throw up is very common and can be caused by many illnesses. It is not easy to handle even in adulthood, and it is certainly not easy to deal with as children. It is a symptom that is experienced fairly often in people that have scarlet fever.

Nausea can also lead to vomiting. Whether or not this is a problem will depend on the extent of the vomiting, and the length of time the symptoms last. Vomiting is likely to mean ejecting food from the stomach before it can be digested, meaning there is not enough time for the nutrients to be absorbed.

Scarlet Fever

Symptom #6: Swollen Tonsils

Food and other items in the mouth can be a haven for bacteria. The food can get trapped in teeth where bacteria can breed rapidly, and this can be quite hazardous for our health. Plus, of course, we are also breathing in pathogens and ingesting them in our food and water.

To help overcome this are two lymph nodes at the back of the mouth known as tonsils. These help to fight bacteria and other pathogens in the mouth, protecting us against disease. When we are sick, these tonsils can become swollen in the same way that other lymph nodes become swollen.

Symptom #7: Swollen Neck Glands

Lymph nodes are found in locations throughout the body, as well as in the back of the throat (tonsils). They help to protect the body from disease by filtering potentially harmful germs from the body’s fluids. They are also where you will find a lot of white blood cells, ready to be called into action to fight for the body.

Some of these lymph nodes are found in the neck area, and they can become swollen when we are ill. This is because they are working harder than usual to help combat the disease. These swellings are not usually something to be concerned about in themselves.

Scarlet Fever

Symptom #8: Flushed Face

Another symptom of scarlet fever is that the face can become very flushed. This is different from the distinctive rash that is so often found with the illness. This distinctive flushing can often help medical professionals to reach an initial diagnosis early on.

Besides the flushing in the face, the patient may also have a distinctive pale ring around their lips. This can further help medical professionals to determine just what the problem is. This pale ring around the lips is technically known in the medical profession as circumoral pallor.

Symptom #9: Chills

Many of us have found ourselves wanting to stay under the bedsheets when we are ill. This is often not just for comfort, but also because we feel so cold, even when the room we are in is very warm. This is another defense mechanism and one that goes hand in hand with fevers.

Chills are part of the mechanism that helps to heat the body in order to make it a hostile place for intruders. They are caused by the frequent contractions and relaxations of the muscles, which help to heat the body up. This causes the blood vessels to contract, which makes us feel cold.

Symptom #10: Red Bumpy Tongue

The tongue is an impressive and underrated organ. Without it, we would not be able to taste the food we eat, leading to us eating the wrong things, and making us ill. It is also quite delicate, though, and is not impervious to the effects of disease.

Scarlet fever can cause what is often referred to as strawberry tongue, so named because it causes the surface of the tongue to look like the skin of a strawberry. The tongue can be very red in color, and also have white dots on the surface that resemble the seeds on a strawberry’s skin.

Scarlet Fever

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