What Is Scarlet Fever?

Quck answer

Scarlet fever is a bacterial infection caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria. It mainly affects children between the ages of 5 and 15. The infection is characterized by a sore throat, high fever, and a red rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Other symptoms may include a strawberry-like tongue, swollen glands, and body aches. Scarlet fever is highly contagious and can be spread through respiratory droplets or by touching contaminated surfaces. It is treated with antibiotics to prevent complications and reduce the risk of spreading the infection to others.

Feeling unwell is not enjoyable. And often, children appear to experience it the most. From chicken pox to the common cold, many diseases affect children more frequently than adults. Today’s Wonder of the Day is about another condition that is more prevalent in children – scarlet fever.

Have you ever had scarlet fever? Nowadays, most children have not. However, there was a time when it was one of the most common childhood illnesses. Frequently, it accompanied another infection that you may be familiar with – strep throat. Both conditions are caused by the same bacteria, known as group A Streptococcus.

Scarlet fever is now rare. Nevertheless, it has not disappeared. People are diagnosed with this illness every year. What symptoms should you watch out for? The most common indications include fever, sore throat, and a red (or scarlet) rash. This rash is how the illness got its name. Most individuals with scarlet fever will also experience swollen glands.

Children between the ages of 5 and 15 are most susceptible to scarlet fever. Doctors can diagnose the condition using a rapid strep test or throat swab. If the results show the presence of bacteria, they will prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.

How do people contract scarlet fever? It is highly contagious. It spreads through sneezing and coughing. The illness can also spread by sharing the same container as another person. People are often contagious for several days before showing any symptoms. This facilitates the rapid spread of scarlet fever and is one of the reasons why it was once so common.

In the 19th century, scarlet fever posed a life-threatening risk to children. Thanks to medical advancements, including antibiotics, most individuals today recover from the illness. However, the infection should still be taken seriously. Scarlet fever can lead to complications such as kidney disease, pneumonia, arthritis, and rheumatic fever.

What should you do if you suspect you have scarlet fever? Consult a trusted adult. They will help you decide whether you should see a doctor. Of course, it is also important to stay at home when you are sick. Resting can aid in your recovery. It will also prevent the spread of illness to others. And always remember to wash your hands! Together, we can help more people stay healthy.

Try It Out

Find an adult who can assist you with the activities below!

  • In the past, humans had no knowledge of bacteria and viruses, but now we are continuously gaining more understanding about them. We can even observe bacteria and viruses closely. Take a look at this image gallery to see the small microbes that can cause significant problems. Can you locate group A Streptococcus? Once you find it, show it to a friend or family member and share what you learned today about scarlet fever.
  • Have you ever experienced sickness? What was the issue? What helped you recover? Write a personal story about a time when you were unwell. Then, share your narrative with a family member and ask if they remember anything else about the situation.
  • How can you contribute to preventing the spread of illness? Read more about what you can do and then create a poster to educate others. Include at least one image and five actions that anyone can take to protect themselves and others from getting sick.

Wonder Sources

  • https://www.cdc.gov/groupastrep/diseases-public/scarlet-fever.html (accessed 07 Oct. 2020)
  • https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/scarlet-fever.html (accessed 07 Oct. 2020)
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507889/ (accessed 07 Oct. 2020)
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/scarlet-fever (accessed 07 Oct. 2020)
  • https://cchp.ucsf.edu/sites/g/files/tkssra181/f/Strep%20Throat_0509.pdf (accessed 07 Oct. 2020)

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