Symptoms may include:
- High fever
- Specific, spreading rash that feels like sand paper
- Flushing in the face with paleness around the mouth
- Red streaks, called Pastia's lines, on elbows, underarms, and body creases
- Swollen glands in the neck
- Pain in the abdomen
- Bright red tongue
- Body aches
In rare cases, untreated strep throat infection may cause:
- Rheumatic fever
- Kidney damage
- Spread of the infection to other areas such as the ears, sinuses, or lungs
- Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome
- Local abscess
The infection that causes scarlet fever can be treated with antibiotics. It is important to take all the prescribed medication. Doing so will prevent scarlet fever from returning, and also prevent complications.
There is no specific treatment for the rash. After the rash fades, the skin peels for several weeks.
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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Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians http://familydoctor.org
Nemours Kids Health http://www.kidshealth.org
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca
Caring for Kids—Canadian Paediatric Society http://www.caringforkids.cps.ca
McKinnon HD Jr, Howard T. Evaluating the febrile patient with a rash. Am Fam Physician. 2000;62(4):804-816.
Scarlet fever. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 10, 2012. Accessed January 16, 2015.
Streptococcal infections. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/infectious%5Fdiseases/gram-positive%5Fcocci/streptococcal%5Finfections.html. Updated April 2013. Accessed January 16, 2015.
Streptococcus. PEMSoft at EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Accessed January 16, 2015.