- Scarlet fever is contagious.
2. Red rash is a classic symptom. The classic symptom of scarlet fever is a red rash that feels like sandpaper which appears 1-2 days after the illness begins and generally lasts for 3-5 days.1,2 The rash may first emerge on the neck, underarm, and groin regions and then spread over the body. Other symptoms also include a headache, fever, sore throat, swollen tonsils, chills, vomiting, and abdominal pain. The tongue may also have a “strawberry”-like appearance.1,3 Let parents know to contact their pediatrician if their child has a fever, sore throat, and rash.
3. Treatment with antibiotics is important to prevent complications. Strep tests should be performed to determine whether group A strep is causing the illness. Penicillin or amoxicillin are the drugs of choice for treating group A streptococcal infections. Antibiotic therapy is recommended for 10 to 14 days. First-generation cephalosporins can be used as an alternative therapy as long as patients did not have an anaphylactic reaction to penicillin. Clindamycin or erythromycin are alternative treatments for patients unable to take penicillin or cephalosporins. Educate patients to complete the full antibiotic treatment to prevent resistance and the following long-term health problems:
- Rheumatic fever
- Kidney disease
- Otitis media
- Skin infections
- Throat abscesses
- Scarlet fever: a group A streptococcal infection. CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/features/scarletfever/index.html. Accessed January 20, 2017.
- Scarlet fever. AAP website. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/skin/Pages/Scarlet-Fever.aspx. Accessed January 21, 2017.
- Scarlet fever. Mayo Clinic website. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/scarlet-fever/basics/definition/con-20030976. Accessed January 21, 2017.
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh, received her PharmD degree from Nova Southeastern University (NSU) College of Pharmacy in 2006 and completed a 2-year drug information residency. She served as a pharmacy professor at NSUâ€™s College of Pharmacy for 6 years, managed the drug information center, and conducted medication therapy management reviews. Dr. Gershman has published research on prescription drug abuse, regulatory issues, and drug information in various scholarly journals. Additionally, she received the Sheriffâ€™s Special Recognition Award for her collaboration with the Broward, Florida Sheriffâ€™s Office to prevent prescription drug abuse through a drug disposal program. She has also presented at pharmacist and physician continuing education programs on topics that include medication errors, prescription drug abuse, and legal and regulatory issues. Dr. Gershman can be followed on Twitter @jgershman2