All You Need To Know About Scarlet Fever

Scarlet fever results from group A strep infection. If your child has a sore throat and rash, their doctor can test for strep.
Scarlet fever is a bacterial infection caused by group A Streptococcus or “group A strep.” The classic symptoms of the disease are a sore throat and a certain type of red rash that feels rough, like sandpaper.
Although anyone can get scarlet fever, it is most common in children ages 5 through 15 years old.
It is usually a mild illness, but people with scarlet fever need antibiotics to prevent rare but serious health problems.
Antibiotics also help someone with scarlet fever feel better sooner and protect others from getting sick.

Key Facts

  • Although anyone can get scarlet fever, it is most common in children ages 5 through 15 years old.
  • Doctors can test for scarlet fever with a quick strep test.
  • Doctors treat scarlet fever with antibiotics.
  • Common symptoms of scarlet fever include sore throat, fever (101° F or above), and a red rash with a sandpaper feel.
  • Protect yourself and others by washing your hands often and not sharing eating utensils.


Prevention Tips

  • Wash your hands often. The best way to keep from getting or spreading group A strep bacteria is to wash your hands often. These bacteria spread through contact with droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze. If you touch your mouth, nose, or eyes after touching something that has these droplets on it, you may become ill.
  • Wash drinking glasses, utensils, and plates after someone who is sick uses them. These items are safe for others to use once washed.
  • Take antibiotics exactly as the doctor says to. Treatment with antibiotics can prevent most long-term health problems from scarlet fever.
  • Stay home if you’re sick. People with scarlet fever should stay home from work, school, or daycare until they no longer have a fever and have taken antibiotics for at least 12 hours.
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