Every year at cold season, scarlet fever appears in kindergartens. Schools again scarlet fever. But how do children get infected with it. What are the symptoms? How you can recognize the disease and what you can do against it, you can learn here.
What is scarlet fever?
Scarlet fever is one of the classic childhood diseases. Bacteria triggered. Is very contagious. Anyone who is ill should therefore urgently stay at home in bed and heal up.
The tricky thing is that the incubation period between infection and the onset of symptoms in scarlet fever is around two to four days. However, the disease is already contagious during this time, even before the first symptoms become noticeable. Even after the outbreak, there is still a risk of infection for three weeks, provided no treatment with antibiotics is given.
The most common symptoms are Children between the ages of three and ten. But babies and adults can also become infected. However, infants up to six months of age have immune protection from the mother. Are thereby protected against the scarlet fever pathogen. In the Cold months Between October and March the number of cases increases, in the summer months it decreases again. About 3 cases of scarlet fever occur per year in Germany alone.300 scarlet fever infections occur.
What are the causes of scarlet fever?
Scarlet fever is not caused by viruses, as is often amed, but by Bacteria triggered. A streptococcus are most often the causative agents of the infectious disease. These bacteria form toxins, which cause the symptoms of the disease. The infection occurs through Droplet infection. This means that the pathogen can already be transmitted by sneezing, coughing or talking. Rarely it is spread by smear infection.
However, not everyone develops scarlet fever due to streptococci. During the cold season, the bacterium is even very widespread. Is found in almost one in five through a throat swab. However, these streptococci occur in many different sub-forms. Not every one of them causes scarlet fever. After an illness, the affected person immune to the causative pathogen strain, but not against all the other types. Therefore, the disease can break out again at any time.
In adults, stress and a weakened immune system are often the cause of the pathogen spreading through the body and triggering the disease.
Children are particularly susceptible to scarlet fever.(c) Racle Fotodesign/Fotollia
What are the symptoms of scarlet fever?
Typical for scarlet fever is the sudden appearance of the following symptoms:
– Sore throat – difficulty swallowing – cough – high fever – headache – nausea
Rather rarely, vomiting and diarrhea occur. As the disease progresses, the distinct scarlet fever features develop, such as
– Reddened, swollen tongue (raspberry tongue) – Reddened, swollen tonsils, usually with a purulent coating (scarlet angina) – Swollen tonsils (scarlet fever) – Swollen tonsils (scarlet fever) – Swollen tonsils (scarlet fever) Lymph nodes on the neck – rash without itching with red, pinhead-sized spots all over the body
This rash on the skin Usually begins on the chest and subsequently spreads over the entire body. It is particularly noticeable in the groin area. However, the triangle between the corners of the mouth and the chin is not affected. This recess is called perioral pallor referred to.
The duration of this typical scarlet rash can be up to four weeks. After that, the spots gradually disappear. For this the skin scales especially on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. The feet seem to peel, because the skin can be peeled off over a large area. In addition, a so-called Nail line On. This is a transverse line on the fingernail, which grows out after a while.
How does the doctor recognize scarlet fever?? Indications of the infection. Occurs in the vast majority of cases. But even before these symptoms appear, the sudden onset of the disease is an indication.
If, in addition, the lymph nodes on the neck are swollen, the doctor will take a Swab from the throat. Thus, the pathogens can be detected at the same time. Exclude viruses as the causative agent of a disease with similar symptoms. A Quick test facilitates the determination of the A-streptococci, so that the scarlet fever treatment can begin as quickly as possible. If the smear does not clearly identify the bacteria, a blood test is possible to confirm the suspicion.
The doctor recognizes scarlet fever on the basis of the raspberry tongue. (c) Anastasiya/Fotolia
Not everywhere compulsory reporting of scarlet fever
In the case of scarlet fever there is no nationwide obligation to report. Each state has its own regulations. In Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia, a New infection for example can be reported.
How scarlet fever is treated?
As a rule, treatment of the disease takes place through Antibiotics instead of which fight the pathogens. Penicillin is usually the first choice. However, if an allergy to the antibiotic is known, there are for example Cephalosporins and Erythromycin as an alternative. After starting to take antibiotics, patients are no longer contagious after 48 hours at the latest.
In addition to scarlet fever therapy, however, doctors also prescribe medicines that help against the symptoms of the disease, e.g.B. Ibuprofen or paracetamol.
To relieve sore throat and cough, there are also globules from homeopathy. Gargle also helps against the pain in the throat. In any case, it is important that the person who has the disease drink a lot, to loosen the mucus. A humid room air is also helpful in making the coughing fits, which often occur at night, more bearable.
How can I prevent?
Unfortunately, there is no vaccination against scarlet fever. However, as the disease is highly contagious, those affected should stay at home until symptoms subside. Especially in kindergartens and schools the pathogens spread rapidly. At the first sign of scarlet fever, parents should therefore leave their children at home as early as possible Avoid contact with other people. If treated with antibiotics, children can return to kindergarten after two days; if left untreated, the risk of infection lasts up to three weeks.
While other childhood diseases offer lifelong immune protection once the infection is over, scarlet fever can break out again and again. Because those affected are only immune to the group of pathogens that led to the outbreak of the disease, but not to other groups of streptococcus bacteria.
Avoid contact and wash hands
If scarlet fever occurs in a community facility, outsiders should avoid contact with the infected person and pay increased attention to Hygiene eighth. Regular hand washing and distance from other people can reduce the risk of infection. For people with a weakened immune system who work in schools or kindergartens, the doctor can prescribe an antibiotic as a preventive measure.
What are the chances of recovery?
If antibiotic therapy is started in time, the chances of recovery are very good very good. As a rule, once the symptoms have subsided, children remain no consequences for the health and the sick recover quite quickly.
Scarlet fever can become dangerous especially if there is no treatment for the disease. In the case of a weakened immune system and babies, then Complications occur. If the toxin secreted by the bacteria spreads throughout the entire body, the result can be a Meningitis or rheumatic fever be. The latter can lead to inflammation of the joints, the heart muscle or the kidneys as a late consequence.
Who during the Pregnancy If you are ill with scarlet fever, you do not need to worry about any major risks for your baby. In contrast to other childhood diseases, such as Rubella, The infection is quite harmless and usually has no consequences for mother and child.