Strep rash is nothing but scarlet fever which is accompanied by a strep throat. The condition is recognized by the development of a bright red rash which occurs almost throughout the body. Most cases of strep rash are generally accompanied by a sore throat and high fever.
Strep rash typically tends to affect children in the age group of 5 to 15 years. In the bygone era, strep rash was considered as a very serious childhood disease. However, with the advent of modern antibiotics the condition is now a treatable illness. It is also important to note that untreated cases of strep rash scarlet fever can result in different serious medical complications which can affect the main organs like the heart, kidneys, etc.
Symptoms of strep rash
Some of the signs and symptoms of strep rash are as follows:
- Facial flushing: Patients may experience a flushed appearance of the face. A pale ring may form around the mouth
- Formation of reddish rashes: Affected individuals may develop a reddish rash which looks like a sunburn and feels like sandpaper. The rash usually affects the face and neck in the initial stages, and slowly spreads to the arms, trunk, and eventually to the legs. The affected sections of the skin if pressure is put on it.
- A tongue which looks like strawberries: The tongue generally looks reddish and lumpy like a strawberry. During the first few stages of strep rash, the tongue’s surface is covered with a white layer.
- Appearance of red lines: The different parts of the body which experience skin folds, such as elbows, knees, groin, armpits, and neck usually turn a darker shade of red as opposed to the surrounding skin affected by strep rash.
- Overall redness of the skin and facial and tongue rashes generally tend to persist for about a week. After the reduction of these symptoms in severity and intensity, the affected parts of the skin experience peeling.
Individuals affected by strep rash may also experience many other signs and symptoms which are listed below:
- Patients may face difficulties in swallowing
- The throat may experience excessive soreness and redness. Occasionally, it may elicit white or yellowish patches.
- High fever may be present. It may be accompanied by tremors and chills. The fever can be as high as 38.3 degree Celsius, or 101 degree F.
- The lymph nodes in the neck may experience enlargement or swelling. They may also be very tender
- Nausea or vomiting
Untreated instances of strep rash can lead to migration of the bacteria to other parts of the body. It can spread to the tonsils, sinuses, middle ear, skin and blood. In rare situations, strep rash can advance and result in development of rheumatic fever, which is a life-threatening disorder that can affect the nervous system, skin, joints, and the heart.
Causes of strep rash
Strep rash is caused by the same species of bacteria which causes strep throat, i.e. Streptococcus pyogenes, or also known as group A streptococcus. The reddish rashes associated with strep rash is caused due to the reaction of a toxin secreted by the bacteria.
The bacterial infection transfers from a patient to others through the droplets which are thrown into the air when an infected individual coughs or sneezes. The incubation period for strep rash or scarlet fever is about 2 to 4 days. Thus, individuals who have been exposed to the bacteria will take about two days to elicit the symptoms of the illness.
The microbes which cause strep rash will most likely migrate to other individuals who are in close contact with the patient. These include family members, classmates, etc.
Children aged between five to 15 years are more likely to develop strep rash as opposed to people who are older or younger
Treatment of strep rash
All instances of strep rash have to be checked and treated by a physician. The condition is treated with prescription antibiotics. It is essential that the affected person completes the full course of antibiotics. The infection is not completely removed if the dosage and treatment guidelines are not followed. This in turn increases the risk of developing severe health complications. It is therefore important for parents to pay extra attention to their children affected by strep rash, and to make sure that they take the recommended antibiotics dosage.
An affected child can resume normal activities such as attending school, etc. after the fever accompanying strep rash has significantly reduced, and/or after the child has been on antibiotics for at least 24 hours.
It is possible to easily prevent the spread of strep rash by following a few precautionary guidelines. Parents of children affected by strep rash must ensure that they follow the below listed basic steps:
- Frequently wash the hands. Use a sanitizer
- Use a handkerchief or tissue papers to cover the mouth when coughing or sneezing
- Do not share utensils or food
Strep Rash Pictures