Scarlet fever is a disease by an exotoxin released by Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. The main symptoms of this disease are sore throat, fever, bright red tongue and a characteristic rash.
The rash is fine and rough in texture. The rash develops 12 to 48 hours after the fever. It is found mainly in the chest, armpits, and behind the ears; and it tends to get worse in skin folds. However, the rash begins to fade 3 to 4 days after onset and the non-infectious upper layer of the skin sheds away. Scarlet fever is contagious.
Some of the symptoms of scarlet fever are given below:
- Sore throat, fever, headache and rash within 1-2 days
- Rash similar to sunburn with tiny bumps and feels like sand paper
- Rash starts on face and neck with mouth area not affected
- Rash spreads to chest, back and to rest of body
- Tongue gas a thick white coat that peels off after 4-5 days and appears strawberry-like in color.
- Tonsils and throat are swollen with white coat and yellow pus
- Neck glands are swollen
- Fever with chills
- Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and abdominal pain
A toxin released by the streptococcal bacteria is responsible for the rash. So, it scarlet fever itchy? Yes, it is. The rash is extremely characteristic and helps in identifying the disease.
The infections that cause scarlet fever are contagious and can spread from person to person by breathing airborne droplets from an infected person’s coughing and sneezing. The bacteria can also be passed by touching of the infected skin or sharing of infected clothes. There are some who are not affected by these bacteria but still act as carriers to pass on infection to others.
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