Scarlet fever affects children and adults

Scarlet fever in children: symptoms and treatment (many photos)

Scarlet fever is a childhood disease that belongs to a class of bacterial infections. It is characterized by inflammatory processes in the lymphoid tissue of the palatine tonsils, nonspecific disturbances in the body's thermoregulation system and intoxication syndrome, profuse skin rash on the body and face (see photo).

The disease is caused by a pathogen belonging to the classification of beta-hemolytic bacteria of the Streptococcus class, which is highly aggressive. Once inside the body, it produces very poisonous erythrotoxins, nicknamed “red poison” in medicine. The consequences of exposure are inherent only to this class of streptococcus and are caused by pathological processes that change the mucous membrane and skin.

How can you get scarlet fever?

Infection with scarlet fever can occur through airborne droplets, as well as through household contact - that is, if you are in the same room with an infected person, communicate with him, and also use shared utensils and other household utensils, it is quite possible to feel the symptoms of the disease yourself. Also, the infection sometimes enters the bloodstream through a cut or wound.

Dr. Komarovsky’s website states that, unlike some other infections, a person becomes contagious as soon as he has the first signs of scarlet fever. The causative agent of this disease is group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus. The bacteria, during their life processes, secrete a toxin that enters the blood and causes clinical manifestations of scarlet fever.

There is a hypothesis according to which children with the following risk factors are most predisposed to developing this disease:

  • AIDS or any other immunity disorders;
  • diabetes mellitus, adrenal pathology;
  • chronic tonsillitis;
  • atopic dermatitis in children;
  • various forms of exudative diathesis;
  • reduced body weight (or malnutrition);
  • chronic pathological changes in the nasopharynx;
  • regular use of glucocorticosteroids or any other means that reduce the severity of the immune response.

Most often, adults do not become infected with scarlet fever, even if their son or daughter has it. This is explained by the stronger immunity of adults. In addition, if mom and dad suffered from this disease in childhood, they received a kind of “vaccination” - they developed a special immunity to this infection. However, in rare cases, adults do get sick. Scarlet fever occurs in both mild and severe forms.

Scarlet fever in children. How does scarlet fever occur in children under one year of age?

Relevance of the infection Unlike many childhood infections, there is no vaccine developed for scarlet fever and children are not vaccinated against it. That is why it is especially relevant for children, especially in organized children's groups, since it is quite contagious, and children are highly susceptible to it. Often, with unexpressed or unclear symptoms, scarlet fever is mistaken for a common sore throat, and the child is a source of potential infection for other children. After suffering from scarlet fever, a strong immunity is formed, that is, they get sick with it once in a lifetime. Mostly preschoolers and primary schoolchildren, from one to 8-9 years of age, are affected; the incidence naturally increases during the cold season - autumn-winter. Scarlet fever should always be treated under the supervision of a doctor, as it can cause serious complications and can become extremely life-threatening if they develop. Scarlet fever is not a new disease, it was known in ancient times, hence its name - scarlet fever is translated in Latin as “bright red color” based on its typical manifestation - red rashes and a crimson tongue. Causes of the disease The main cause of the disease is a special type of streptococcus (group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus), a microbial infection. Streptococci can live on the mucous membranes of the nasopharynx, on the skin, causing inflammatory processes, and the toxin produced by this microbe affects the skin, causing a rash, and leads to intoxication, allergic manifestations and other troubles. The infection is transmitted through the air - by coughing or sneezing, talking, and can be transmitted in children through the hands that they handle and shared toys. Adults with common sore throats are at risk of contracting scarlet fever, since they are also caused by streptococci. Children can be contagious throughout the entire period of the disease, and after it for about a month they can be asymptomatic carriers, especially if there are chronic inflammatory processes in the nasopharynx or there have been purulent complications. The tonsils can serve as a gateway for infection; they are also the main site for the microbe to multiply and spread throughout the body in case of complications. During the life of streptococcus, a special erythrotoxin is produced, which can provoke acute inflammatory damage in the superficial layers of the skin. If scarlet fever is not properly treated, it can become the initial stage of such dangerous conditions as myocarditis (damage to the muscular layer of the heart), rheumatism (systemic damage to the heart and joints) and glomerulonephritis (kidney damage). How it will manifest itself The incubation period lasts on average about a week, the minimum incubation period is about a day, the maximum is up to 12 days. The prodromal or latent period of infection lasts from three to five days, during which time the microbe that has entered the body multiplies and actively releases toxins, but there are no manifestations of the disease yet. The disease usually begins with acute manifestations - the baby’s well-being is sharply affected, lethargy and weakness, drowsiness occur, and there may be complaints of headaches and chills. The body temperature jumps to 38-40 degrees, everything will depend on the severity; in the initial period, due to a sore throat, there may be vomiting with nausea. After a few hours, a specific type of rash appears on the child’s body - it looks like bright pink, pinpoint redness. The rash is most pronounced in the face, on the side surfaces of the body and in the area of ​​natural folds of the skin - inguinal folds, buttocks and armpits. Another characteristic sign of scarlet fever is the sharp difference between areas of literally glowing skin on the cheeks with rashes against the background of a very pale area of ​​the nasolabial triangle. There is no scarlet fever rash in this area. In appearance, the child also looks quite typical - in addition to the rashes, his face is swollen, his eyes will shine feverishly. A typical and constantly occurring symptom is tonsillitis, which is characterized by redness on the soft palate, sharply enlarged tonsils, on the surface and lacunae of which a purulent coating appears. The lymph nodes on the upper surface of the neck are sharply enlarged and may be painful. The rash will remain on the skin for about a week, after which it goes away smoothly and does not leave behind pigmentation. After one to two weeks, the skin begins to peel, starting from tender areas of the body on the neck and armpits, and then gradually throughout the body. For scarlet fever, peeling in the area of ​​​​the feet and palms is typical, extending from the nail edges along the fingers, spreading to the palms and soles. They have lamellar peeling. At the beginning of the disease, the tongue is coated, but after two or three days of illness it clears up, appearing bright red with sharply protruding papillae of the (crimson) tongue by about the fourth day. If intoxication is severe, there may be damage to the central nervous system with the formation of agitation with delusions and hallucinations. At the initial stage of the disease, the tone of the sympathetic nervous system predominates, then it is replaced by the tone of the parasympathetic nervous system. Severity of the disease Depending on age, characteristics of the body and the initial background, scarlet fever can occur in a mild, moderate and severe form. The timing of recovery from scarlet fever and its course will depend on this. Usually, scarlet fever is mild and this is associated with rational and active use of antibiotics, then scarlet fever passes quickly enough and is not dangerous to life and health. Basically, today's complications of scarlet fever are no longer toxic, but infectious-allergic. They can occur in the second week of the disease, manifesting as damage to the kidneys or heart, and usually occur in older children. The mild form usually manifests itself with mild symptoms of intoxication, and fever and all manifestations disappear within 4-5 days. This is the most common variant of scarlet fever today. In a moderately severe condition, all the symptoms of the disease appear, including quite pronounced intoxication, the disease lasts an average of a week. Severe forms of scarlet fever are extremely rare today, usually occurring in two forms :

  1. toxic scarlet fever, with severe intoxication with high fever, damage to the nervous system - clouding of consciousness, delirium, convulsions and meningeal signs.
  2. necrotic form with pronounced manifestations in the pharynx - severe sore throat with necrotic phenomena, a pronounced reaction of the lymph nodes and complications with the development of sepsis. Necrosis in this form of tonsillitis can be on the tonsils, and on the mucous membrane of the throat and soft palate.

Complications of scarlet fever Scarlet fever is not as dangerous in itself as its consequences and complications are dangerous. These include the transition of inflammation to the middle ear with the development of otitis, damage to the paranasal sinuses with the development of sinusitis, the development of rheumatism and glomerulonephritis. Most complications arise in the third week of the disease, when antibodies are formed to beta-hemolytic streptococcus, which “ by mistake ” affect the tissues of the heart, kidneys, and joints. Pneumonia can also develop as a result of the infection spreading down the bronchial tree. People don’t get scarlet fever twice in their life; in the future, streptococcus can only cause common sore throats, which are no less dangerous in terms of the formation of complications. Quarantine measures regarding scarlet fever Scarlet fever refers to children's quarantine infections, that is, it is contagious and at the time of its occurrence, a group of kindergarten or school is quarantined, and a child who is sick at home is isolated from other children due to its high contagiousness. The principles of isolation and quarantine measures for scarlet fever are the same as for ordinary tonsillitis; children with a moderate form and early age, or any children in serious condition, are hospitalized in the hospital. It is possible to be hospitalized in a hospital for a mild form of scarlet fever for epidemic reasons - if the family or team has babies and children who have not had scarlet fever . The sick baby is isolated in a separate room with his own individual dishes and cutlery, towels and hygiene products, and bed linen. Isolation lasts for at least 10 days from the onset of the disease. After the child has been ill, he will stay at home for another 12 days until he goes to children's groups. Contact children are quarantined for a week. If these are children who communicate with the sick person throughout his illness, their quarantine lasts up to 17 days from the start of contact. For children who have not had scarlet fever, both children and adults with scarlet fever and adults with tonsillitis are dangerous; this is the same infection. Treatment methods for scarlet fever Scarlet fever is a microbial infection, and the basis of its treatment is routine measures and antibiotic therapy. Treatment is generally carried out at home, with bed rest prescribed for the duration of the acute period. The need for hospitalization is determined by the doctor, just as he also prescribes treatment, especially regarding antibiotics. Due to a sore throat and general malaise, the child eats poorly - it hurts to swallow and his appetite is reduced. Therefore, he needs a special diet - dishes are given pureed and boiled. Liquid or semi-liquid, nothing irritating or very hot. It is important for the child to drink a lot so that toxins are actively removed from the body, and after the manifestations of sore throat subside, they gradually need to switch to a common diet. Antibiotics occupy a leading place in the treatment of scarlet fever; streptococci are very sensitive to the penicillin group, they are prescribed in tablets, syrups or powders. Only in a hospital can injections be prescribed for severe forms of scarlet fever. If the child is allergic to penicillin, then they are replaced with erythromycin. In addition to antibiotics, drugs are prescribed - antihistamines, calcium supplements, vitamin C in high doses. For local treatment of sore throats, rinses with rotokan, furacillin, orasept or herbal infusions are used. Can all children get scarlet fever? No, not all children get scarlet fever even when in contact with sick people, the susceptibility to it of children aged 2 to seven years is approximately 40%, newborn children do not get scarlet fever due to the antibodies transferred by their mother, as well as adults, they only get sore throats . Most often, children with weakened immunity, hypovitaminosis, anemia, as well as children under stress or overexertion get sick with scarlet fever. There are no repeated episodes of scarlet fever; people only get it once in a lifetime. However, streptococcus can cause other forms of the disease - sore throats, otitis media or erysipelas. Prevention of scarlet fever Children with scarlet fever must be isolated, and children exposed to scarlet fever must be examined for seven days. The group is quarantined during this time and no one is accepted into the group. Those recovering from scarlet fever may be allowed into the children's group no earlier than 12 days after the onset of the illness. In the apartment of patients with scarlet fever, the premises are regularly cleaned with disinfectants. There is currently no vaccine for scarlet fever. Therefore, no specific preventive measures are provided.

What happens in the body after infection?

Penetration of the scarlet fever pathogen into the body in the vast majority of cases (namely 97%) occurs through the pharynx, less often the “gate of infection” is damaged skin (burns, scratches, wounds - 1.6%), human lungs (1%), sometimes genitals organs (uterine mucosa, so-called postpartum scarlet fever).

Getting on the mucous or wound surface, group A streptococcus - the causative agent of scarlet fever - causes inflammation of the tissue at the site of penetration, followed by death and cell rejection. After the streptococcus penetrates through the lymphatic vessels and blood vessels into the lymph nodes located nearby (in case of infection penetration through the mucous membranes of the upper respiratory tract, the sublingual, submandibular, and cervical groups of lymph nodes are affected).

In the process of its “life activity,” streptococcus produces a toxin that is similar to the autonomic nervous system and the neurovascular system. Causing a chain of pathological changes in the organs and functioning of the patient’s body, the infection determines the main symptoms of scarlet fever in children: increased body temperature, acute inflammation of the tonsils, rash on the skin of the face and body, damage to the cardiovascular system of the body, disturbances in the functioning of the central and autonomic nervous systems.


Types and signs of a typical form of scarlet fever:

  • moderate form - high fever, severe rash, purulent sore throat, vomiting. The duration of the disease is 6-8 days.
  • mild form – temperature up to 38.5 C, mild rash, mild sore throat. The duration of the illness is 4-5 days.

There are three types of severe form:

  • septic - necrotizing tonsillitis, inflammation of surrounding tissues.
  • toxic-septic – a combination of signs of previous forms.
  • toxic - temperature up to 41 C, severe degree of intoxication, repeated vomiting, loss of consciousness, hallucinations, delirium.

Atypical scarlet fever can occur in the following forms:

  • rudimentary - the main symptom is a single rash; the illness in this form lasts no longer than 2 days.
  • erased - the symptoms of scarlet fever are minimal, there is no rash, pain when swallowing, throat hyperemia, mild temperature.

In the extrapharyngeal form, the tissues of the regional lymph nodes and oropharynx are affected, and lymphadenitis develops. The tonsils are practically not affected.

Symptoms and signs of scarlet fever in childhood

The first symptoms of scarlet fever are signs of acute intoxication of the child’s body:

  1. Drowsiness, lethargy, weakness, weakness, irritability;
  2. Headaches and body aches, refusal to eat. Severe abdominal pain may occur. Young children may experience vomiting or diarrhea;
  3. A sharp increase in temperature. Body temperature usually rises sharply and on the 2nd day reaches a maximum level of 39-40°C. Over the next 5-7 days, the temperature gradually normalizes;
  4. Complaints of sore throat. Redness of the throat appears (the tonsils are often covered with plaque) as with tonsillitis or sore throat. Enlargement and tenderness of regional lymph nodes are noted.

These symptoms do not identify scarlet fever, since exactly the same symptoms can occur with many other diseases, for example, with sore throat. However, symptoms characteristic of scarlet fever appear quite quickly:

  1. Raspberry tongue. In the first days of the disease, the tongue becomes covered with a white coating, through which swollen red papillae are visible. After a few days, this coating sloughs off, the tongue becomes bright red, shiny, “crimson.”
  2. Rash. The rash characteristic of scarlet fever appears after 12-48 hours. Skin rashes look like small red dots. Initially, the rash appears on the neck and upper chest, but then quickly spreads to the entire body and face. Scarlet fever rash never appears in the area of ​​the nasolabial triangle. The pallor of the nasolabial triangle with scarlet fever is especially emphasized by the burning cheeks and bright swollen lips of the child. If you run your finger over the site of the rash, a white stripe remains for a while, which slowly changes its color back, from white to bright red. In deep folds of the skin (in the area of ​​the elbows, in the axillary, popliteal folds, in the groin area), dark red stripes may appear that do not fade when pressed.

On the 4th–5th day of illness (sometimes earlier), the rash begins to fade and disappear. After the rash disappears at the end of the first - at the beginning of the second week of the disease, the skin on the face begins to peel off in the form of delicate scales. Then peeling appears on the torso and lastly on the palms and feet. With scarlet fever, the skin peels off in layers, especially on the hands and feet. The duration and intensity of peeling depends on the severity of the rash; the duration of this period can last up to 6 weeks.

As for the organs of the digestive system, with scarlet fever their function is not dramatically impaired. Constipation is common in most patients, but diarrhea is more common in infants.

Scarlet fever

The incubation period can last from a day to ten days. The disease begins acutely, there is a sharp increase in temperature, accompanied by signs of increasing intoxication: headache, muscle aches, weakness, tachycardia. High fever in the first days is often accompanied by increased mobility, euphoria, or vice versa: apathy, drowsiness and lethargy. Significant intoxication can provoke vomiting. Recently, the course of scarlet fever with moderate hyperthermia, which does not reach high numbers, has been increasingly noted.

When swallowing, there is soreness in the throat, examination of the pharynx reveals pronounced hyperemia of the tonsils (much more intense than with a sore throat), the arches of the uvula, the posterior wall of the pharynx, and the soft palate (the so-called “flaming pharynx”). In this case, the hyperemia of the mucous membrane is clearly limited by the transition of the soft palate to the hard palate. Sometimes the clinical picture of follicular-lacunar tonsillitis develops: the intensely hyperemic mucous membrane of the tonsils becomes covered with foci (usually small, but sometimes large and deep) of plaque, mucopurulent, fibrinous or necrotic in nature.

At the same time, inflammation of the regional (anterior cervical) lymph nodes develops: they increase slightly in size, become dense to the touch and painful. The tongue, initially covered with a grayish-white coating, subsequently (on the 4th-5th day of the disease) acquires a rich scarlet-crimson color, and hypertrophy of the papillae occurs. In severe cases, the lips are painted the same color. As a rule, at this time the symptoms of sore throat begin to subside. Necrotic plaques regress noticeably more slowly.

A characteristic pinpoint rash occurs on the first or second day of the disease. Against the background of general hyperemia, darker dots appear on the skin of the face and upper body (and subsequently on the flexor surfaces of the arms, sides, inner thighs), condensing on the skin folds and in places of natural folds (elbow, groin, axillary fossa) and forming dark red stripes (Pastia's sign).

In some cases, there is a fusion of punctate elements of the rash into one large erythema. The rash on the face is typically localized on the cheeks, temples, and forehead. There are no rashes in the nasolabial triangle; paleness of the skin is noted here (Filatov’s symptom). The rashes temporarily disappear when you press on them. Due to the fragility of blood vessels, small hemorrhages may occur on the skin in places subject to friction or pressure. Sometimes, in addition to the scarlet fever rash, small papules, macules and vesicles are noted. In addition, there is a late manifestation of the rash (on the 3-4th day of illness) or its absence.

As a rule, 3-5 days after the onset of the disease, the patient’s condition improves, and the symptoms gradually subside, the rash turns pale and, by the end of the first or beginning of the second week, completely disappears, leaving fine-scaly peeling on the skin (coarse-scaly peeling on the palms and soles). The severity of the rash and the speed at which it disappears vary depending on the severity of the disease. The intensity of peeling directly depends on the abundance and duration of the rash.

The extrabuccal form of scarlet fever occurs when the pathogen enters through damaged skin (in areas of abrasions, wounds, surgical wounds). In this case, a purulent-necrotic focus forms in the area of ​​damage, the rash spreads from the injection site, and no lesions are observed in the pharynx area.

In adults, an erased form of scarlet fever is sometimes observed, characterized by slight intoxication, moderate catarrhal inflammation of the pharynx and a scanty, pale, short-lived rash. In rare cases (also in adults), scarlet fever is extremely severe with the likelihood of developing toxic-septic shock: lightning-fast progression of intoxication, severe fever, and the development of cardiovascular failure. Hemorrhages often appear on the skin. This form of scarlet fever is fraught with dangerous complications.

How to distinguish scarlet fever from other diseases

A red rash on the skin can also appear with some other diseases: measles, rubella, atopic dermatitis. Purulent inflammation of the tonsils is also not necessarily a manifestation of scarlet fever, since damage to the tonsils and the area closest to them is possible, for example, with diphtheria.

Scarlet fever can be distinguished by the following characteristics:

  1. White nasolabial triangle.
  2. Dotted rash on red, swollen skin. The rash is especially dense in the folds of the skin and on the bends of the limbs.
  3. "Burning Maw." The mouth and throat are red and swollen. The area of ​​redness is separated from the sky by a sharp border.
  4. “Crimson tongue” is a swollen tongue of a crimson color, on which enlarged papillae stand out.
  5. Peeling of the skin after the start of recovery. On the palms and soles it comes off in stripes, and in other places - in small scales.

Symptoms of scarlet fever in children and adults

The incubation period for scarlet fever lasts from one to twelve days. The disease begins acutely. First, the patient's temperature rises. Then signs of intoxication appear:

  • muscle pain;
  • increased heart rate;
  • weakness;
  • headache.

The febrile state is accompanied by drowsiness and apathy. Euphoria and increased mobility may occur. Intoxication often causes vomiting in most patients. Other symptoms of scarlet fever include:

  • A sore throat. Redness of the tonsils, tongue arches, soft palate and posterior pharyngeal wall is detected. Sometimes follicular-lacunar tonsillitis forms. The mucous membrane is covered with a plaque of a purulent, fibrous, necrotic nature.
  • Regional lymphadenitis. Lymph nodes become dense and painful.
  • Raspberry tongue. By the fifth day of illness, the tongue becomes bright crimson. Plaque disappears from the surface. Hypertrophy of the papillae is detected. The lips are also painted crimson. This symptom occurs in adults with a severe form of the disease.
  • Pinpoint rash. It is formed during the first days of illness. Dots of dark shades appear on the skin of the face, as well as the upper part of the body. Then later they appear on the flexor surfaces of the upper limbs, sides and inner surface of the legs. Dark red stripes form in the folds of the skin. Sometimes the elements of the rash merge into erythema.
  • Minor hemorrhages. They arise from fragile vessels that are easily damaged by squeezing and rubbing the affected skin.

There are no rashes in the nasolabial triangle with scarlet fever (Filatov's symptom). The skin in this area usually becomes pale.

By the fifth day, the symptoms of the disease subside. The rash initially turns pale and disappears completely by the ninth day. After these rashes, fine-scaly peeling remains on the skin, while large-scaly peeling is detected on the feet and palms. In adults, scarlet fever is asymptomatic. The patient notices a pale, quickly passing rash and a slight catarrhal inflammation of the throat.

Repeated scarlet fever

Normally, after suffering from scarlet fever, the body produces antibodies to erythrotoxin. But, if the immune system is extremely weakened, a repeated attack by pathogens is possible, which occurred even before complete recovery. And then the disease takes a new turn in a child who seems to have begun to recover.

And recurrent scarlet fever a long time after the illness is observed in 2–4% of cases. This is due to the fact that the use of an antibiotic from the first days of illness does not allow the body to develop antibodies to erythrotoxin.

But the second time, scarlet fever, as a rule, passes in a milder form. The treatment is similar, except that the doctor may prescribe a different antibiotic than the one used the first time.

Treatment methods for scarlet fever

Currently, treatment of scarlet fever, as a rule, does not pose a problem. However, if left without proper treatment, scarlet fever is dangerous due to complications, primarily from the cardiovascular system, kidneys and ENT organs.

After suffering the disease, in most cases, stable lifelong immunity is developed. Recurrence of scarlet fever occurs rarely - only when the immune system is impaired. Immunity is developed specifically to scarlet fever; other streptococcal diseases after scarlet fever are possible.

If you find symptoms of scarlet fever in your child, call a pediatrician at home.

Antibacterial therapy

Streptococcus is highly sensitive to antibiotics, so antibacterial treatment usually leads to rapid improvement and, ultimately, recovery.

Make an appointment Do not self-medicate. Contact our specialists who will correctly diagnose and prescribe treatment.

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Possible complications

In the absence of adequate treatment and for some other reasons (weakness of defenses, infection with a highly aggressive strain of streptococcus, predisposition to autoimmune processes), complications may develop.

All the consequences of scarlet fever are divided into three large groups:

  1. Septic. This group includes a variety of purulent infections - common necrotizing tonsillitis, otitis, purulent lymphadenitis, peritonsillar abscess, pneumonia, etc. The most severe are sepsis and purulent meningitis. Septic complications can be early (occur in the first week of illness) and late (develop after 2 weeks or more). Septic complications are usually associated with inadequate antibacterial therapy (delayed prescription, incomplete course, drug inactive against streptococcus) or the complete absence of antibiotics in the treatment of patients.
  2. Allergic (infectious-allergic) - always late, forming by 2-3 weeks. These include damage to the joints, kidneys, and heart after scarlet fever. Allergic complications are due to the fact that streptococcus has antigens that are similar in structure to some cells of the human body. Because of this similarity, the immune system, starting the fight against streptococcus, damages not only foreign microbial cells, but also its own - autoallergic rheumatism, myocarditis, glomerulonephritis, etc. develop. To prevent infectious-allergic complications, it is necessary to begin antibacterial therapy as soon as possible earlier and conduct a full course.
  3. Toxic. These include infectious-toxic shock, which develops in the first days of the disease against the background of infection with a large amount of a highly aggressive and highly toxic strain of streptococcus. It is characterized by severe weakness up to loss of consciousness and coma, pallor, drop in blood pressure, respiratory depression, cardiac dysfunction, etc. Currently, it is extremely rare.

In the case of timely treatment, scarlet fever is quite easy: the temperature drops on the 3rd–4th day of the disease, by the same time (or even earlier) the rashes disappear. Changes in the tongue, dry skin followed by peeling may persist for another 2-3 weeks.


The diagnosis is made on the basis of clinical manifestations and epidemiological data (contact with a patient with any form of streptococcal infection). Laboratory diagnostics are also used. In the acute period, all patients are prescribed a general blood test. Scarlet fever is characterized by an increase in the number of leukocytes and neutrophils in the blood, an increase in ESR, which indicates a bacterial cause of the infection.

To confirm the diagnosis, a bacteriological method is used, in which beta-hemolytic streptococcus is isolated from cultures of mucus from the oropharynx. Modern diagnostic methods include determining the titer of antistreptolysin-O, antibodies against DNase and other enzymes, including streptococcal antitoxins.

How to treat scarlet fever?

Mild forms of scarlet fever in a child are treated at home, severe forms - in a clinic. In both cases, patients are prescribed antibacterial drugs of the penicillin series; if there is intolerance to these drugs, antibiotics of another group are prescribed.

The duration of the course of treatment is determined individually, but on average it is 10 days. A day after the start of therapy, the person’s condition noticeably improves, but antibiotic therapy must be completed.

In addition to prescribing antibiotics, treatment for scarlet fever includes:

  1. Bed rest.
  2. Drug symptomatic therapy - antipyretic drugs, antiallergic drugs and other drugs.
  3. Diet (food should be warm, not hard, it is better to give preference to vegetables and fruits), drinking plenty of fluids, which is necessary to reduce intoxication.
  4. Local treatment - sucking tablets and sprays with analgesic and antiseptic effects, gargling with solutions of furatsilin, soda, and decoctions of medicinal herbs.

Children who have had scarlet fever can resume attending kindergarten or school no earlier than three weeks after the onset of the illness, even if the patient’s health improves much earlier.

Treatment of scarlet fever in children

Many parents wonder how scarlet fever in children is treated and how. Often the disease can be cured at home. However, it is still necessary to consult a doctor, since advanced disease can lead to hospitalization, severe and complex treatment, and the development of complications.

One of the mandatory conditions is bed rest, which usually lasts from a week to 10 days. In addition, drug treatment is carried out. Doctors prescribe antibiotics for scarlet fever in children by injection or in tablet form. It is impossible to name one clear dosage that is suitable in every case. As a rule, the dose and type of antibiotic are calculated by the doctor individually, based on the characteristics of the little patient’s body. The duration of treatment may also vary, since it all depends on the severity of the disease, the age of the patient, and the presence of various pathologies. If a child is allergic to antibiotics, then doctors usually prescribe macrolides, an antitoxic serum.

If scarlet fever is very severe, treatment in children can be supported by taking special vitamins and glucose to speed up the recovery process. If treatment is started on time, scarlet fever does not cause any complications.

It is possible to get rid of scarlet fever at home; treatment in children in this case is carried out with special medicinal tinctures and antiseptic solutions, but a trip to the doctor is required.

Lifestyle of a child during illness

The infection weakens the baby, so he needs to be provided with bed rest, in a room without bright lights and loud sounds. Reduce stress levels as much as possible.

Despite the fact that in our society it is customary to feed sick children, in the case of scarlet fever it is better not to do this. It is necessary to give food little by little; all foods must be boiled and ground so that they are easy to swallow. Food should be warm, not hot. The diet excludes hot, salty and spicy foods that irritate the throat. As for the drinking regime, you need to drink a lot. It is better if it is an alkaline warm drink. The baby should have access to it around the clock. Dehydration must not be allowed. You need to drink fractionally, that is, sip at a time, but often.

It is not advisable to bathe your baby during scarlet fever, at least for the first 5-7 days. Temperature changes and unnecessary irritation will only intensify the appearance of the rash. It is also not worth treating the rash with anything.

Nutrition for children with scarlet fever

Many doctors previously believed that due to scarlet fever, all patients should follow a special diet based on dairy products or proteins, since they reduce the likelihood of an allergic reaction and protect the body from any risks. However, studies have shown that the diet is not effective. Currently, there are no uniform recommendations on what a child should eat during treatment, but it is best to eat more fruits, vegetables and healthy foods so that the period of intoxication does not pass painfully.

Quite often, scarlet fever causes fever, which is why doctors recommend drinking various drinks at room temperature. This could be milk, tea with lemon, fruit drink, rosehip tincture, compote, jelly or even regular boiled water - the more, the better.

If, due to illness, a child does not want to eat at all, then there is no need to force him. However, in this case, it is necessary to ensure that you drink plenty of fluids, and then add puree or light soup to your diet. In general, it is recommended to consume milk porridge, vegetable soups, meat dishes, steamed food, and more fruits and vegetables during the period of illness, treatment and recovery. After the acute symptoms of the disease subside, you can return to your normal diet.

Is it possible to bathe a child?

Washing during scarlet fever is not prohibited. On the contrary, children should be bathed, as this will reduce itching of the skin and prevent scratching of the rash.

However, it is important to follow some rules:

  • The water in the bath should not be too hot or very cool.
  • if the child has a fever, the bath is replaced by wiping.
  • The skin should not be rubbed with a washcloth or sponge.
  • To wash off soap suds, instead of a shower, it is better to douche from a ladle.
  • It is not recommended to dry your child with a towel after bathing. It is better to blot the water by wrapping the baby in a sheet or diaper.

Traditional methods of treating scarlet fever in children

The main treatment for childhood scarlet fever is antibiotic therapy. However, in order to speed up the healing process, it can be supported by the use of various traditional methods.

For example, quite often with scarlet fever it is recommended to drink tea with cherries or raspberries, as it helps reduce fever and inflammation. It is also worth periodically gargling with special decoctions of medicinal herbs, which not only reduce inflammation, but also have an antiseptic effect.

It is also recommended to breathe over steam in order to generally improve the condition of the child’s body. In addition, you can make tinctures from medicinal herbs and plants, take them one spoon per day. Remember, only traditional methods will not help you fully recover. They can only improve the effect of medications, so it is better not to play with the child’s health and trust first of all to specialists.


Since a child with scarlet fever is contagious for 22 days from the onset of the disease, quarantine measures are carried out in kindergarten and school:

  1. Children who have not had scarlet fever and have been in contact with a sick person are isolated for 7 days (this rule applies to preschool institutions and grades 1-2 of school).
  2. Children who previously suffered from scarlet fever and recovered children are allowed to visit after 12 days after the elimination of clinical manifestations.
  3. Admission to a children's institution for those who have recovered from acute respiratory infections, sore throat and other respiratory infections is permitted with a certificate confirming antibacterial treatment.
  4. Children with sore throat diagnosed within 7 days after the last registration of scarlet fever are also isolated for 22 days from the appearance of the first signs.
  5. Employees (decreed group) who have not previously been ill and have been in contact with a sick person are allowed to work, and they are subject to 7-day medical observation.
  6. Current disinfection is carried out with 0.5% chloramine, dishes and linen are boiled. Final disinfection is not practical.
  7. After illness, employees of children's institutions are transferred to work where they will not be epidemiologically dangerous for 12 days.

Each time after scarlet fever is detected, quarantine is extended for another 7 days.

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