What is Scarlet Fever?
What is Scarlet Fever? Scarlet fever is a fever accompanied by a red rash on the skin caused by Streptococcus bacterial infection. The disease most often affects children aged 5-15 years.
Scarlet fever is usually accompanied by sore throat and high fever. This disease can affect the condition of the kidneys, heart, and other limbs if not immediately treated with antibiotics.
Causes of Scarlet Fever
Scarlet fever is caused by a bacterial infection of Streptococcus pyogenes, the bacteria that cause sore throat. These bacteria are often found in the skin and throat. These Streptococcus bacteria can be transmitted through saliva spray when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
A person can also be infected when touching the skin of infected patients bacteria or sharing towels, sheets, clothes, to the tub with the patient. People who do not experience symptoms, but have this bacteria in the skin or throat, can infect this bacteria as well. Therefore, the bacteria will be able to spread easily to the nearest people or people who are often close to the patient, such as family, co-workers, or classmates.
Someone who has been infected with bacteria can experience symptoms or pain within 2-4 days of exposure to bacteria, but may also be in a shorter period, 1 day, or longer, 7 days.
Symptoms of Scarlet Fever
Patients with scarlet fever generally have a rash almost all over his body. This rash looks like a burn from the sun and feels rough. The rash can also be itchy in some cases. If the area of the rash is pressed, then the skin tone will become pale. The rash can spread from the face area to the neck, body, arms, to legs. Some other symptoms that accompany scarlet fever, namely:
- High fever, which reaches 38.3 degrees Celsius or more, is often accompanied by chills.
- Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck.
- Inflammation of the throat accompanied by white or yellowish spots in the area.
- Hard to swallow.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- The color of facial skin is flushed with a pale colored skin ring around the mouth.
- Reddish tongue with small bumps like strawberries. In the early stages of the disease is usually often accompanied by a layer of white on the surface of the tongue.
- There are folds of skin around the neck, armpits, elbows, groin, and knees are redder than the surrounding skin.
Skin rashes appear due to toxins released by the bacteria that cause scarlet fever and usually appear for about a week. The same poison also causes the tongue to turn red. Once these symptoms subside, the skin that was affected by the rash will peel off.
Scarlet fever can also occur as a secondary infection in someone who is suffering from other diseases, such as chickenpox. Immediately contact your doctor to prevent worsening due to serious complications. If your child has a strep throat accompanied by a fever of 38.9 degrees Celsius, an enlarged gland in the neck, and a red rash appears, you are also advised to see a doctor immediately.
Diagnosis of Scarlet Fever
Given the common scarlet fever in people with sore throat, the doctor will check the throat, tongue, and tonsils of patients for symptoms of this disease as one form of early examination. After that, the doctor will check the texture of the skin rash that appears (if any), and whether there is enlargement or swelling of the lymph nodes.
Doctors can take samples from the tonsils and the back of the patient’s throat to find out and confirm whether the symptoms are caused by bacteria that trigger scarlet fever.
Treatment of Scarlet Fever
Treatment measures can help speed the healing process, reduce the patient’s vulnerability to pass on to others, and reduce the risk of complications.
The doctor will give antibiotic therapy for 10 days to deal with the disease. The most common type of antibiotics is the penicillin group. If the patient is penicillin allergy, then the antibotic group erithromicin will be given as an alternative.
Ensure that the patient completes the entire treatment period until the infection is completely cleared and healed so that the patient can avoid complications. Patients with children can return to school within 24 hours of receiving antibiotics and no longer have fever. In general, scarlet fever will improve within one week without therapy, and 4-5 days with therapy.
Some self-care at home can also be done so that patients feel more comfortable so as to help reduce the pain, such as preparing adequate fluid intake to keep the throat moist and help prevent dehydration. Efforts to relieve fever and sore throat can also be done with the provision of drugs, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Other steps, namely:
- Prepare a brine solution to gargle. This effort is effective in helping to relieve sore throat.
- Throat lozenges can also be used to relieve strep throat.
- Use a tool that can remove dry air triggers sore throat.
Also make sure the air circulation in the room is maintained
- Avoid other irritant triggers, such as cigarette smoke, and cleaning products.
- Provide a convenient food for the throat, such as warm soup and small cold dishes, such as ice bars to soothe sore throat.
- Use a lotion with calamine or antihistamine to relieve itching.
- Avoid wiping the patient with cold water. Cold water causes contraction of blood vessels thereby reducing heat release from fever.
Complications of Scarlet Fever
If not treated promptly with antibiotics, bacteria can attack other organs such as: lungs, kidneys, middle ear, tonsils, blood, and skin. In rare cases, the resulting complications can be rheumatic fever, a serious condition affecting the nervous system, skin, joints, and heart.
Prevention of Scarlet Fever
Preventing scarlet fever can be started by preventing the spread of bacteria that cause this disease. Some of the prevention of infection that can be done, namely:
- Get used to wash your hands with warm soapy water.
- Do not use the same or alternating cutlery and avoid sharing food so that bacteria do not spread to uninfected people.
- Wash the tableware, and toys if possible, after use.
- For those of you who are suffering from this fever, closing the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing is important to do in order to prevent bacteria spread to the people who are often around you.