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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What are the symptoms of scarlet fever?
Symptoms of scarlet fever appear within about four days of coming into contact with an infected person, usually starting with a sore throat, headache and fever. About 12 to 48 hours later, the characteristic rash begins to show. A few spots generally …
What causes scarlet fever?
Scarlet fever is caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria that live in the nose and throat. These bacteria produce a harmful toxin that travels around the body in the blood, causing widening of the blood vessels and general inflammation. The effects of this are …
Is scarlet fever contagious?
Scarlet fever is usually spread by breathing in droplets of fluid that have been sneezed or coughed out by an infected person. Similarly, the bacteria can be passed on by touching the skin of someone with group A Streptococcus infection, or by sharing …
How is scarlet fever diagnosed?
Scarlet fever is usually diagnosed by looking at symptoms, particularly if a rash is present. Your doctor may also look closely at the throat and glands. A throat culture may also be performed to look for Streptococcus bacteria.
Can scarlet fever be cured?
In the past, scarlet fever was considered to be a serious childhood disease, but it's now easily treated with antibiotics and complications are rare. Most cases of scarlet fever clear within about a week of starting treatment. Over-the-counter medications may …
What is the outlook for scarlet fever?
The outlook for scarlet fever is usually very good, particularly when the condition is correctly diagnosed and treated early with antibiotics. In most cases, the condition clears within about a week of starting treatment with antibiotics, and …
What complications can arise from scarlet fever?
Although most cases of scarlet fever are successfully cured with antibiotics, complications can arise when the condition is left untreated. Possible complications include spread of infection, rheumatic fever, kidney infection or toxic shock …
Can scarlet fever be prevented?
Scarlet fever may be prevented by avoiding contact with people who have a sore throat or skin infection caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria. If contact cannot be avoided, the likelihood of developing scarlet fever may be reduced by maintaining good …
About this article
Author: Lauren Donley BSc (Hons)
First answered: 21 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 17 Oct 2018
Rating: 4.0 out of 5
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Category: Scarlet fever