The infection is caused by a bacterium that makes a toxin that causes a distinct rash. Scarlet fever usually happens along with strep throat.
Scarlet fever may cause:
- High fever
- A distinct, spreading rash that feels like sand paper
- Flushing in the face with paleness around the mouth
- Red streaks on the elbows, underarms, and body creases
- Swollen glands in the neck
- Belly pain
- A bright red tongue
- Body aches
People who also have untreated strep throat may develop:
- Rheumatic fever
- Kidney damage
- Spread of the infection to other areas, such as the ears, sinuses, or lungs
- Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome
- An abscess
The infection that causes scarlet fever can be treated with antibiotics.
There is no specific treatment for the rash. After the rash fades, the skin peels for several weeks as part of the healing process.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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