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Scarlet Fever

Scarlet fever is an infection caused by group A streptococcus bacteria. This disease gets its name from the characteristic scarlet rash that is noticed on affected kids and adults. Usually children in the age group of 5 - 15 years are affected by scarlet fever. A child suffering from scarlet fever usually has symptoms of strep throat too. The rash appears as tiny bumps all over the body. It manifests as reddish streaks and itches. This rash lasts for about a week and is accompanied by high fever and swollen glands in the neck. The tongue of the affected patient develops a whitish coating. Later it gets reddened and swollen (strawberry tongue). There is nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite. The cheeks are flushed and the rash leaves peeling skin. The rash is coarse to feel. Often scarlet fever is mistaken for red measles. Scarlet fever is contagious and passes through sneezing and coughing. If left untreated, scarlet fever results in kidney or heart disease. It can also result in rheumatic disease. Complications with scarlet fever are middle ear infection and pneumonia.


Diagnosis of scarlet fever is done with a throat culture. A person suffering from scarlet fever tests positive for Group A Strep. A physical examination of the child is also conducted. A child with scarlet fever may not feel like eating much due to the severe strep throat. Ensure a diet with plenty of fluids and soft foods. Warm nutritious soups and milkshakes can help. Scarlet fever is usually treated with antibiotics and is resolved within about 10 days.

Rheumatic Fever

Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory disease caused by streptococcus bacteria. Typically rheumatic fever tends to affect children in the age group 6 - 15 years. Often rheumatic fever tends to follow a strep throat or scarlet fever or any other streptococcus infection. Rheumatic fever is characterized by symptoms such as fever and skin rash. The joints tend to get swollen and painful. Rheumatic fever damages the heart valves and can lead to severe disabling problems. Persons who have suffered a case of rheumatic fever have a tendency to develop flare-ups with repeated strep infections. The patient may experience chest pain, fatigue and shortness of breath. The patient suffers heart inflammation accompanied by weakness or chest pain. There may be involuntary jerky movements of hands and legs. Rheumatic fever can lead to Sydenham's chorea - a temporary nervous system disorder.


Blood counts, ESR and ECG help in diagnosing rheumatic fever. A physician will check joints for pain and inflammation and listen for any abnormal rhythms in your heart. It is essential that persons suffering from strep infection treat it without delay lest it manifest into rheumatic fever. Any nodules over swollen joints and red rashes on the chest, back and abdomen must not be ignored. Treatment for rheumatic fever involves reduction of inflammation and antibiotics such as penicillin, sulfadiazine or erythromycin. Persons suffering from rheumatic fever can suffer heart damage and attacks. Treatment for rheumatic fever usually includes anti-infective agents and anti-inflammatory agents. Sometimes cardiac medications are also prescribed for patients suffering from rheumatic fever.


Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki Disease or Kawasaki Syndrome typically affects children under 5 years. It is noticed more among children of Japanese and Korean origin. The rash may be worse in the groin. There is fall and rise of temperature. Symptoms of Kawasaki Disease include high fever accompanied by redness in both eyes or redness in the palms and soles. The lymph nodes in the neck may be enlarged. The fingers and toes may develop swelling and discoloration. The mouth and lips usually get severely chapped. There is a rash on the chest and stomach. The rash may be worse in the groin. There is fall and rise of temperature.


It is essential that Kawasaki disease be diagnosed and treated at an early stage to avoid complications with the heart. It can lead to an inflammation of the blood vessels of the heart (vasculitis). There can also be subsequent swelling of the heart muscles, coronary arteries and valves. Kawasaki disease goes through phases. In the initial phase, there is high fever and rashes begin to appear. Mild conjunctivitis is observed. The mouth mucous membranes are inflamed and appear bright red. In the second phase, the child experiences peeling skin on the hands and feet. There may be vomiting and diarrhea. Joint pain and swelling is noticed in the knees, hips and ankles.


Other conditions that have similar symptoms are scarlet fever, Steven Johnson syndrome and Toxic shock syndrome. Urine and blood tests are conducted to diagnose Kawasaki syndrome. Intravenous doses of gamma globulin are given to a child suffering from Kawasaki disease to boost the body's resistance to infection. Aspirin is given to relieve some of the symptoms and prevent blood clots and heart disease.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: December 10, 2017