As scarlet fever sweeps through the United Kingdom, with over 17,000 cases diagnosed so far, it’s vital to understand the condition and what steps should be taken for prevention. Being regarded as one of the most viral outbreaks since the ‘60s, the doctors sought it best to raise awareness among the public. Below, you will find everything you’ll need to know about scarlet fever.
1. Scarlet Fever is a Group A Strep Infection
The condition is triggered by the group A streptococcus, a species of Gram-positive bacteria and has various methods of transmission: respiratory droplet and hand contact. Studies show that the bacteria can also infect humans who eat contaminated foods or drink raw milk.
2. Strawberry Tongue Is the Tell-Tale Sign of Scarlet Fever
According to the doctors, the tell-tale sign of scarlet fever is the so-called ‘strawberry tongue,’ a rash followed by the desquamation of the tongue. In patients with strawberry tongue, the organ might feel abrasive like sandpaper and bumpy. During the first stages of the disease, the tongue is white, while in the later stages, the organ will turn bright red.
3. Other Signs to Look Out For
Apart from the strawberry tongue, the patient might experience additional symptoms such as fever, headaches, sore throat, and enlarged lymph nodes. Long-term complications might include arthritis, kidney disease, and rheumatic heartbeat.
4. Age Groups at Risks
Scarlet fever usually affects children between ages 5 and 15-years-old. In its atypical form, the disease can also affect infants under 3.
5. Prevention and Treatment
Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for scarlet fever, and the standard treatment consists of antibiotics such as penicillin V, Benzathine Penicillin G, and amoxicillin. As for prevention, washing your hands regularly is the course of action. Also, doctors recommend staying away from patients who experience the above-mentioned symptoms and to refrain from sharing personal items such as toothbrushes or underwear.
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