Scarlatina Rash in Children Pictures - 15 Photos & Images
Scarlet fever is caused by an infection with group A streptococcus bacteria (usually strep throat). The bacteria make a toxin (poison) that can cause the scarlet-colored rash that gives this illness its name. Not all streptococci bacteria make this toxin and not all kids are sensitive to it. Two kids in the same family may both have strep infections, but one child (who is sensitive to the toxin) may develop the rash of scarlet fever while the other doesn't. Usually, if a child has this scarlet rash and other symptoms of strep throat, it can be treated with antibiotics. So if your child has these symptoms, it's important to call your doctor.
The rash is the most striking sign of scarlet fever. It usually begins looking like a bad sunburn with tiny bumps and it may itch. The rash usually appears first on the neck and face, often leaving a clear unaffected area around the mouth. It spreads to the chest and back, then to the rest of the body. In body creases, especially around the underarms and elbows, the rash forms classic red streaks. Areas of rash usually turn white when you press on them. By the sixth day, the rash usually fades, but the affected skin may begin to peel.
Aside from the rash, there are usually other symptoms that help to confirm a diagnosis of scarlet fever, including a reddened sore throat, a fever above 101°F (38.3°C), and swollen glands in the neck. The tonsils and back of the throat may be covered with a whitish coating, or appear red, swollen, and dotted with whitish or yellowish specks of pus. Early in the infection, the tongue may have a whitish or yellowish coating. A child with scarlet fever also may have chills, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
When scarlet fever happens because of a throat infection, the fever usually stops within 3 to 5 days, and the sore throat passes soon afterward. The scarlet fever rash usually fades on the sixth day after sore throat symptoms began, but skin that was covered by rash may begin to peel. This peeling may last 10 days. The infection itself is usually cured with a 10-day course of antibiotics, but it may take a few weeks for tonsils and swollen glands to return to normal. In rare cases, scarlet fever may develop from a streptococcal skin infection like impetigo. In these cases, the child may not get a sore throat.