What Are the Symptoms of Scarlet Fever?

Q:
What are the symptoms of scarlet fever?

A:
The signs and symptoms that give scarlet fever its name include:

  • Red rash. The rash looks like a sunburn and feels like sandpaper. It typically begins on the face or neck and spreads to the trunk, arms and legs. If pressure is applied to the reddened skin, it will turn pale.
  • Red lines. The folds of skin around the groin, armpits, elbows, knees and neck usually become a deeper red than the surrounding rash.
  • Flushed face. The face may appear flushed with a pale ring around the mouth.
  • Strawberry tongue. The tongue generally looks red and bumpy, and it’s often covered with a white coating early in the disease.

Other signs of scarlet fever can include:

  • Very red sore throat
  • Fever of 101 F or higher, sometimes with chills
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Headache or body aches
  • Nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Whitish coating on the tonsils and throat

Because scarlet fever symptoms can be similar to other conditions, always check with your doctor or pediatrician. He’ll do an exam and other tests in order to start the right treatment.

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