Scarlet Fever Symptoms That You Should Watch Out For

tongue and throat check-up

Story at-a-glance -

  • One of the hallmark symptoms of scarlet fever is its scarlet-colored rash, which is caused by the erythrogenic toxin released by the Streptococcus bacteria
  • To diagnose scarlet fever, your physician will conduct a physical exam to check the condition of your tongue, throat and tonsils. To avoid misdiagnosis, make sure to explain your symptoms properly to your physician

The telltale signs of scarlet fever generally appear after one to four days of being infected with the group A Streptococcus bacteria.1 Detecting these symptoms early on allows you to start the necessary treatment methods as soon as you can.

One of the hallmark symptoms of scarlet fever is its scarlet-colored rash which is caused by the erythrogenic toxin released by the Streptococcus bacteria.2 The rash typically starts on the chest and/or abdomen, gradually spreading onto other areas of the body as the illness progresses. While these rashes don’t usually appear on the face, your cheeks may still turn very red.3

The folds of skin on the armpits, elbows, knees and groin may turn a brighter red than the surrounding rashes.4 If a glass is pressed on the skin, these rashes may turn white. Their texture is also similar to sandpaper, so your skin may feel rough.5 Other hallmark symptoms of scarlet fever include a very red, sore throat with white and yellow patches, as well as a fever of at least 101 degrees Fahrenheit, often accompanied with chills. You may also experience the following symptoms during an  outbreak:6,7

White tongue with red dots on the surface (also referred to as “strawberry tongue”)

Headaches

Swollen tonsils

Nausea and vomiting

Swollen glands

Pale skin around the lips

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, consult your doctor to get a proper diagnosis and to determine a suitable treatment plan for your condition.

Scarlet Fever May Be Misdiagnosed for Other Diseases

Since the warning signs of scarlet fever are nonspecific, they may be mistaken for other types of disease. A misdiagnosis prevents you from getting the right treatment for your needs, so take note of other illnesses that are similar to scarlet fever:8

Roseola: Also known as sixth disease, roseola is a common childhood illness that’s characterized by high fever and rashes. Unlike scarlet fever, which is a bacterial infection, roseola is a viral infection caused by the human herpesvirus 6 and 7 (HHV-6 and HHV-7).9

Slapped cheek syndrome: Characterized by light pink rashes on the body and bright red rashes on the cheeks, slapped cheek syndrome is another viral infection that usually affects children. It’s caused by parvovirus B19.10

Measles: Measles is a highly contagious viral infection that causes high fever and red-brown rashes on the body.11

Rubella: Also known as German measles, rubella is another viral illness that’s characterized by rashes, which are made up of small red-pink spots.12

Meningitis: Meningitis also causes fever and rashes. But unlike scarlet fever, the rashes from meningitis do not turn white when a glass is pressed over them.13

How Is Scarlet Fever Diagnosed?

To diagnose scarlet fever, your physician will conduct a physical exam to check the condition of your tongue, throat and tonsils. They may also look for swollen lymph nodes around your neck and inspect the appearance and texture of your rashes.

If you’re suspected to have scarlet fever, your doctor may also collect a sample of cells at the back of your throat through a throat swab. This sample will be analyzed in a laboratory to determine if group A Streptococcus bacteria are present in your throat.14 To avoid misdiagnosis, make sure that you explain your symptoms properly to your physician. You may also ask questions during your appointment in order to expand your knowledge about this illness and learn how you can manage it effectively.15

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


< Previous

What Is Scarlet Fever?

Next >

Scarlet Fever Causes

Click Here and be the first to comment on this article
Post your comment