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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.


Pneumonia

In most cases, pneumonia is noticed after an upper respiratory illness. When there is infection in the lung tissue, pneumonia occurs. This disease can be caused by either virus, bacteria, fungi or parasites. Pneumonia caused by virus appears gradually and may not be as severe as when caused by bacteria. The streptococcus bacteria, known as pneumococcus, is the main cause of pneumonia. adenoviruses, rhinovirus, influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and para-influenza virus are among the viruses that can cause pneumonia. Weak and elderly people are more at risk for contracting pneumonia. Persons with weakened immune systems or have had their spleen removed are more susceptible for pneumonia.


The disease is contagious and spreads through touching used handkerchiefs and sharing utensils. Symptoms of pneumonia include fever, cough and chest pain. There is labored breathing and abdominal pain. Wheezing is noticed in cases of viral pneumonia. A patient suffering from pneumonia may develop bluish or grayish pallor on the lips and fingertips. A case of bacterial pneumonia can take about a fortnight to recover while viral pneumonia takes longer. Pneumonia can be mild or life threatening.


Pneumonia is detected during a physical examination. Chest Xray and CT scan can help confirm the presence of pneumonia and throw light on the extent and location of the infection. Blood tests and phlegm sample can detect presence of virus or bacteria. Bronchoscopy allows a doctor to examine the patient's breathing passages. Antibiotics such as penicillin, amoxicillin and clavulanic acid are prescribed to treat pneumonia. Macrolide antibiotics such as erythromycin, azithromycin and clarithromycin are prescribed to those suffering from pneumonia. Vaccines against Haemophilus influenzae and pertussis are part of the routine immunization schedule for children.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: September 23, 2019