SCARLET FEVER - Overview, Facts, Types, Symptoms - Watsons Health


Scarlet fever is a bacterial disease that is also known as scarlatina. It is found in people who have strep throat. Scarlet fever leads to obvious red rashes that are visible in the entire body. Sore throat and high fever are associated with this.

Scarlet fever usually affects children 5 to 15 years of age. While it was once found as a serious childhood disease, antibiotic treatment has made it less risky. Scarlet fever can lead to more serious conditions such as kidney, heart and other organ problems.


The signs and symptoms of scarlet fever include:

  • Red rash. The rash looks like a sunburn that starts on the face or neck and spreads to the trunk, arms, and legs
  • Red lines. The folds of skin around the groin, armpits, elbows, knees, and neck usually turn to a deeper red than the surrounding rash.
  • Flushed face. The face may appear flushed with pallor around the mouth.
  • Strawberry tongue. The tongue looks red, bumpy and whitish

Redness and rashes in the face and tongue typically last for weeks. After these signs and symptoms have resolved, the affected skin usually peels. Other signs and symptoms related to scarlet fever are:

  • Fever of 38 C or higher, often with chills
  • Very sore and red throat, sometimes with white or yellowish patches
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Enlarged glands in the neck (lymph nodes) that are tender to the touch
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Headache


During the physical exam, your doctor will:

  • Look at the condition of your child’s throat, tonsils, and tongue
  • Feel your child’s neck to determine if lymph nodes are enlarged
  • Assess the appearance and texture of the rash


If your child is positive with scarlet fever, antibiotics will be prescribed by the doctor. Your child should comply with medications so that the infection will resolve completely.

The child can go to school when he or she has taken antibiotics for 24 hours and no longer shows signs of fever.

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