07.05.2021

Scarlet fever in children, a disease with adult consequences

Scarlet fever in children is an extremely common disease with a beautiful name, but extremely “ugly” consequences. How easily the child will endure the disease, and whether complications arise after it, directly depends on the sanity and quickness of his parents…

At the initial stage of development of scarlet fever in children, the disease “like two drops of water” is like an ordinary cold…

What kind of “beast” is scarlet fever?

Scarlet fever is an acute infectious disease that occurs due to the activity of a microbe with the bizarre name beta-hemolytic streptococcus. In addition to scarlet fever, it causes a great many unpleasant sore throats – including all kinds of sore throats.

In fact, scarlet fever in children is a sore throat, only in an acute form and accompanied by a very specific rash.

The microbe beta-hemolytic streptococcus does not die at temperatures below 70 ° C, so even despite a sharp increase in body temperature with scarlet fever in children, the disease does not recede.

Scarlet fever is an extremely dangerous disease, especially when it comes to children. Moreover, not the microbial streptococcus itself is dangerous here, but the substance erythrotoxin, which is produced by the microbe in the process of life. It is this toxin, spreading throughout the body with a blood stream, that can cause severe damage to the heart, liver and kidneys. And it is erythrotoxin that is the main culprit in the appearance of a characteristic small rash with scarlet fever.

Scarlet fever in children: symptoms

The most characteristic symptoms of scarlet fever in children include:

  • Fever (body temperature can “jump” to the maximum values ​​of 39.5 – 40 ° C);
  • Headache;
  • A specific small red rash that affects significant areas of the body (but first the rash always appears in the throat – affecting the mucous membrane without leaving the surface of the tonsils and soft palate);
  • Inflammatory processes in the throat (and, accordingly, pain and difficulty swallowing);
  • Enlarged lymph nodes;
  • Red “cones” on the tongue (hypertrophied and brightly colored taste buds);

First of all, the disease affects the nasopharynx, which means that the first symptoms of sore throat appear. In general, at the initial stage, scarlet fever in children can be mistaken for ordinary SARS. Then there is a fever and obvious signs of a sore throat, and only after 1-2 days – a specific rash on the skin (outwardly similar to intense urticaria).

With adequate treatment, the rash passes quite quickly – usually within 5-6 days.

Why and how do children get scarlet fever

Scarlet fever is transmitted by airborne droplets. In fact, one sick child is able to infect an entire group of kindergarten (or, if he is already a schoolboy, most of his classmates).

Through the upper respiratory tract, beta-hemolytic streptococcus enters the body, “settling” on the surface of the tonsils, where it begins to multiply, affecting the mucous membrane. However, not all children who “grabbed” the microbe will certainly get scarlet fever. But only those who have not had it before, who are distinguished by a weakened immune system, or those who have a predisposition.

Predisposition factors include :

It is gratifying that a person can have scarlet fever only once in his life, after which he develops a stable immunity to this disease. In general, according to statistics, on average, out of 10 children infected with scarlet fever, only three actually get sick.

In children younger than a year, scarlet fever is almost not diagnosed. However, if this happens, the babies are placed in infectious hospitals under constant supervision – since at such a tender age, scarlet fever in children can behave very unpredictably.

The vast majority of children manage to get scarlet fever in kindergarten age. A small percentage get sick in the elementary grades of the school, and it is extremely rare for children to grow to adolescence, never once in their life “picking up” scarlet fever.

Treatment of scarlet fever in children

With adequate treatment for scarlet fever in children, it lasts about 20 days. As soon as the doctor confirms the diagnosis (using external signs and special tests – a clinical blood test, smear from the throat and others), he will prescribe antibiotic therapy.

The medical part of the treatment of scarlet fever in children (and in adults) must include the use of antibiotics of a number of penicillins. Otherwise, the disease is almost impossible to defeat. But remember that one or another type of antibiotic should be prescribed by a doctor, not a pharmacist in a pharmacy or you yourself. Neglecting qualified medical care in the treatment of scarlet fever, or refusing to use antibiotics, you essentially doom your child to the risk of acquiring extremely serious complications.

Despite the fact that antibiotics for scarlet fever in most cases very quickly alleviate the condition of the child, the prescribed course of taking the drug (usually up to 10 days) must be fully maintained! Only in this case, the microbe will be completely “defeated”, and will not remain “to walk around the body”, being only “wounded”.

To reduce the fever in a child, doctors usually prescribe paracetamol. In addition, in the treatment of scarlet fever, it is useful to regularly gargle (you can just use water at room temperature, or you can add soda) and follow a drinking regimen.

The disease is not terrible, but its complications

A feature of beta-hemolytic streptococcus is that if the treatment of scarlet fever in children is carried out incorrectly (or not at all), this microbe can give very serious complications to the heart, liver and kidneys of the child.

The most likely complications that can occur with scarlet fever:

  • Cervical lymphadenitis and adenoflegmon (severe complications from the lymph nodes);
  • Otitis;
  • Pneumonia;
  • Diffuse glomerulonephritis (severe kidney damage);
  • Joint damage (e.g., articular rheumatism);
  • Heart disease (e.g., heart valve damage);
  • Sydenham chorea (brain damage);

Any of these complications can develop into a severe pathology and even lead to death.

Until the world knew about the existence of antibiotics (the use of which is now the basis for the treatment of scarlet fever in children), about half of all children with scarlet fever “recovered” with terrible pathologies of the heart, liver and kidneys – that is why scarlet fever was previously considered a deadly disease.

When can a child go back to kindergarten after scarlet fever?

Despite the fact that antibacterial therapy for scarlet fever in children quickly copes with the disease, doctors do not advise rushing to give the child back to the kindergarten immediately after recovery, believing that a second meeting with a potentially dangerous streptococcus can be dangerous for a weakened child. As a rule, pediatricians advise returning the baby to the children’s team no earlier than 3 weeks after the onset of the disease.

Prevention of scarlet fever in children

Alas, the most important weapon in preventing any serious infectious disease, namely, a vaccine, has not yet been invented against scarlet fever. This means that measures for the prevention of scarlet fever in children are reduced to adequate behavior, compliance with the “laws” of hygiene, and timely medical attention if alarming symptoms are detected.

If scarlet fever is found in one of your peers’ children’s teams, honestly follow the quarantine rules (which the institution’s health worker will instruct you about).

And besides, do not allow the child to develop protracted forms of any ENT diseases.

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