Scarlet fever is typically characterized by fever above 101 °F and red rash. In this particular article, we will have a look at the various treatment options available for this condition.
Scarlet fever, also known as Scarlatina, is an infectious disease which causes rash. This rash typically resembles a sandpaper and consists of tiny, red bumps that appear over the skin of the infected person. Children or adolescents in particular, are the most vulnerable to this condition.
Scarlet fever is caused by toxins produced by A beta-hemolytic streptococci bacteria, which belongs to the pyogenic exotoxin-producing group. The toxin produced by it travels into the bloodstream and eventually leads to rash over the neck, forehead, cheeks, and chest. It gradually spreads to the arms and back. The rash begins to appear a day or two after the onset of the illness. It usually starts fading away in four or five days, but can stay up to two to three weeks.
Some of the signs of this illness are fever above 101 °F, sore throat with enlarged tonsils, chills, headache, vomiting, stomach ache, tongue coated with white or yellow mucus, muscle ache, and peeling of the fingertips.
Scarlet fever is easily diagnosed by physical examination as the symptoms can be identified by a doctor. Medical history is also taken into consideration in such cases. Rapid antigen detection test or throat swab are helpful tests to detect this condition. In some cases, the throat culture may also be necessary.
The treatment for scarlet fever depends on the age of the patient, overall health, medical history, and the extent of illness. It is very important to start the treatment early, failing which, it can lead to some severe complications, like rheumatic fever, liver damage, kidney damage, pneumonia, and sinusitis.
The treatment includes administration of appropriate antibiotics to kill bacteria. Penicillin is an important drug which counters this disease by controlling biosynthesis of cell-wall mucopeptide. The drug is administered orally or in injectable form. For individuals who are allergic to penicillin, other antibiotics like erythromycin and clindamycin are also available to arrest bacterial growth. These antibiotics help in reducing the severity of the symptoms, preventing complications, and also preventing the spread of disease to others.
Additionally, oral antihistamines can be used in case of severe itching over the rash affected areas. The nails of the infected person should be trimmed, especially in case of small children, because scratching on the affected area can be harmful. An acetaminophen or a paracetamol can be used to keep a check on fever.
Some simpler means of treatment include gargling with warm saline water and increased fluid intake to prevent dehydration. As scarlet fever is a contagious disease, basic precautions should be taken to stop its spread. It’s wise to keep the child suffering from this illness in isolation, especially away from other children. The bacteria causing this disease can spread due to coughing, sneezing, and even breathing. The victim can also experience peeling of the skin in the following days.
It is very important to consult a medical professional if symptoms of scarlet fever are noticed. And considering that the condition can recur, it is very important to complete the entire course of antibiotics even if the symptoms appear to have vanished.