Scarlet Fever: An Overview

scarlet-fever Scarlet fever is a condition caused by bacterial infection resulting in fever and eruption of red rashes looking like sandpaper on the skin. Also called as Scar Latina, this infectious disease comprises tiny reddish bumps appearing over the skin of the affected person.

Scarlet Fever mostly affects kids or adolescents aged below 18 years. The toxin generated by bacteria A beta-hemolytic streptococci enters into the blood stream leading to development of rash over neck, forehead and other portions of body including cheeks and chest. After sometime the rash gradually starts affecting arms and back.

The rash starts appearing a day or two after infection and then begins to fade away in the next five days, although it may exist for at least three weeks.

What are symptoms of Scarlet Fever?

The infected person may have a fever more than 101 degree Fahrenheit.

Scarlet Fever causes enlargement of tonsils resulting in soar throat.

Chills, headache, vomiting and pain in stomach are the other symptoms of Scarlet Fever.

Scarlet Fever also leads to coating of tongue with whitish or yellowish mucus besides causing muscle ache.


The diagnosis of Scarlet Fever is based on physical check up. Your doctor may also consider your medical history while making diagnosis. It can be diagnosed with the help of rapid antigen detection.  In some cases throat swab can help in detection of this condition. The throat culture is also needed for diagnosis in some other cases.


Treatment is prescribed in accordance with the age of the affected person. Overall health condition of a patient along with previous medical record and the severity of the illness are also taken into consideration for appropriate treatment.

Treatment for Scarlet Fever must begin at the earliest considering the potential risk of rheumatic fever, damage to liver and kidney and several other health complications such as pneumonia and sinusitis.

Use of antibiotics for killing the bacteria is one of the most common treatments for scarlet fever.

Penicillin is the most effective medication that fights off this condition by bringing biosynthesis of cell-wall mucopeptide under control. This drug can either be injected or administered orally to the infected person.

Some people are allergic to administration of penicillin. For them erythromycin and clindamycin can be used as effective alternatives for controlling the bacterial infection.

Yogesh Mishra