Practical Tips That May Help You Prevent Scarlet Fever

handwashing

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  • Handwashing is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself against diseases. This especially holds true for bacterial illnesses like scarlet fever
  • Aside from handwashing, you may also reduce your risk of developing scarlet fever by lowering your exposure to bacteria and reinforcing your overall health. Here are some additional tips that you can follow

The group A Streptococcus bacteria that cause scarlet fever are highly contagious. They’re usually spread through coughing or sneezing, in droplets that potentially contaminate a variety of objects that you use every day, including door handles and utensils. To make things even more complicated, some people may also carry these bacteria without becoming ill, unknowingly spreading them to other people.1 While these bacteria are almost impossible to prevent, there are still ways to keep yourself from being infected.

Handwashing Is One of the Best Ways to Stave Off Scarlet Fever

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, handwashing is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself against diseases. This especially holds true for bacterial illnesses like scarlet fever.2

Before you reach for an antibacterial soap, though, keep in mind that this type of soap contains triclosan, an antibacterial agent that’s supposed to kill germs but may end up disrupting your endocrines and promoting the growth of liver and kidney tumors instead. It may also disturb hormone regulation and disrupt fetal development in pregnant women.

Moreover, studies show that antibacterial soaps are no more effective than plain soaps when it comes to fighting bacteria. Using this type of soap only puts you at risk of harmful chemicals without actually benefiting your health. You can avoid this unnecessary health risk by simply washing your hands with warm, running water and mild soap. Scrub your hands thoroughly for 15 to 20 seconds, making sure that you cover all surfaces, before rinsing with running water.

Other Ways to Lower Your Risk of Getting Scarlet Fever

Aside from handwashing, you may also reduce your risk of developing scarlet fever by lowering your exposure to bacteria and reinforcing your overall health. Here are some additional tips that you can follow:

Do not share utensils and personal items with others: As mentioned above, the bacterial infection that leads to scarlet fever can be easily contracted by using the belongings of an infected individual.

With that said, avoid sharing utensils like spoons, cups and glasses with other people even if they don't show any signs of Streptococcal infection. You should also refrain from sharing personal items, such as toothbrushes, towels, handkerchiefs, bed linen and clothes.3,4

Keep away from people with Streptococcal infection: As much as possible, avoid people with other forms of Streptococcal infection, since they may also transfer the bacteria to you and put you at risk of scarlet fever.5 Some of the other Streptococcal infections that you should watch out for include strep throat, impetigo, cellulitis, sinusitis and middle ear infections.6

Strengthen your immune system: The primary role of your immune system is to fight off diseases caused by an infection. You can help maintain proper immune function by adopting a healthy diet, increasing your vitamin D through sun exposure, and getting ample amounts of sleep.

What Should You Do if You’re Already Infected?

In case you’ve already been infected with the Streptococcus bacteria, you can keep the infection from spreading to your loved ones by following these tips:7

Avoid close physical contact: Steer clear from overcrowded areas to prevent transmitting the infection to others. If your child is the one with scarlet fever, don't send them to school. Social interactions should be resumed after you've made sure that the illness is no longer contagious.

Wash or dispose of used personal items right away: Personal items, such as tissues or handkerchiefs that you've sneezed or coughed into, should be washed or disposed of immediately. In case an uninfected person touches these, make sure they wash their hands right after.

Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing: Covering your mouth while coughing or sneezing prevents the bacteria from spreading onto nearby surfaces and infecting other people in the form of fluid droplets.

You should also consult your doctor if you’ve been experiencing early warning signs of scarlet fever in order to get a proper diagnosis and learn other ways to manage your illness without infecting your loved ones.

MORE ABOUT SCARLET FEVER

Scarlet Fever: Introduction

What Is Scarlet Fever?

Scarlet Fever Symptoms

Scarlet Fever Causes

Scarlet Fever Treatment

Scarlet Fever Prevention

Scarlet Fever Diet

Scarlet Fever FAQ


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