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How is scarlet fever treated?

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Quick Answer

Scarlet fever is treated with a course of antibiotics, according to Mayo Clinic. These must be taken for the full course, or the infection may not be eliminated completely and the risk of complications increases.

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How is scarlet fever treated?
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Full Answer

Scarlet fever, also known as scarlatina, is caused by a bacteria of the same type that causes strep throat. Scarlet fever causes a red rash to cover the body, and generally causes fever and sore throat. Most often, scarlet fever affects children between the ages of 5 and 15 years. It is no longer considered serious because it is easily treated with antibiotics, but left untreated, it can cause more severe conditions that affect various areas of the body.

Scarlet fever gets its name from the reddish rash that spreads from the face and neck to the arms, legs and trunk, red lines in folds of skin, red and bumpy "strawberry tongue" and flushed face. Other symptoms include high fever of 101 degrees or above, chills, severely red and sore throat with or without white or yellow patches, tender swollen glands, vomiting or nausea and headache.

The bacteria that causes scarlet fever, if left untreated, can spread to other parts of the body, such as the lungs, skin, tonsils, kidneys, middle ear and blood. While uncommon, a severe condition known as rheumatic fever can be a consequence of scarlet fever, affecting the joints, skin, nervous system and heart.

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