Knowing the important facts and details about a particular disease is one way for us in preventing its spread and infection. In other words, becoming knowledgeable or educated about these health conditions is considered to be very important. One of the most common infections that man has ever experienced is none other than scarlet fever. Scarlet fever is defined as a disease that is caused by bacteria commonly known as group A streptococcus or GAS. We all know that GAS can cause a lot of different diseases; however, the strain of GAS that causes scarlet fever is unique since it is known to produce toxins in the body. This toxin is the one that triggers the release or formation of red rashes all over the skin. Nevertheless, many of us still wonder, is scarlet fever contagious?
Scarlet Fever is definitely considered as a contagious disease since it can travel from one person to another by means of droplets and/or other nasal or respiratory secretions. Although it can affect all people regardless of sex and gender, this infection is common among children aged 4 to 8 years old. This disease also starts with throat problems or symptoms that are similar with strep throat. However, red rashes will then start to appear on the skin afterward. Even though scarlet fever is already manageable with antibiotic treatment, this disease was still recognized as the cause of death of thousands of people before. Some may even have severe reactions, which includes bacterial infection in the blood or sepsis as well as in the bones and other tissues of the body.
The red skin rash, which is the most common indication of scarlet fever, usually displays like sunburn. These rashes will begin appearing on the neck and the face, which will then spread down to the torso as well as the back. After this, the rash will then travel to the extremities as it will begin covering the entire body. These rashes will usually fade after 6 days; however, the affected skin will usually peel as a way of repair.
Aside from these rashes, there are also different symptoms that may exhibit from scarlet fever such as reddened sore throat, high-grade fever, swollen neck glands, the presence of white streaks on the throat and tonsils and the appearance of a whitish or yellowish coating of the tongue. Children infected with this disease may also show signs of chills, nausea, body discomforts, vomiting as well as loss of appetite.
Scarlet fever is usually treated with a 10-day course of antibiotics such as penicillin or amoxicillin, but many of the symptoms of scarlet fever can be relieved using some simple self-care measures, such as:
- Drink plenty of cool, hydrating drinks to soothe your painful throat and ensure that you remain hydrated;
- Eat soft foods so as not to irritate your painful throat, and gargle with salt water or other mouthwash to disinfect it;
- Take paracetamol, aspirin or ibuprofen for a headache and to bring down a high temperature;
- Use calamine lotion, cortisone creme or antihistamine tablets to relieve itching.
These are just some of the important details and facts about the terrible health condition known as scarlet fever.