LUBBOCK COUNTY, TX (KCBD) - A lot of folks think of scarlet fever as something in the history books that we don't have to worry about anymore. Dr. Tedd Mitchell explains that scarlet fever is still very much a threat, which is why we need to understand the symptoms.
Have you ever heard of scarlet fever? Or have you ever known anybody that had scarlet fever? Maybe not. But scarlet fever is actually more common than you would think and it's caused by Streptococcus, a type of bacteria commonly referred to as group A strep.
Like other forms of strep, scarlet fever often starts with symptoms such as fever, sore throat and difficulty swallowing. The person may also have nausea, chills and abdominal pain. The throat, tonsils and tongue may be red and sore.
What's unique about group A strep is that before or after the illness kicks in, a rash will often form. The rash may appear on the neck, arms and in the groin area and eventually spread all over the body. The rash will be red, hence the name scarlet fever.
Group A strep, like other types of strep, is treatable with antibiotics. And, it's important to see a doctor if you have strep-like symptoms. Long-term health consequences can develop if left untreated.
So as we move through the last half of winter, remember wash your hands. This will help reduce your risk of getting sick. Washing your hands is still the best protection we have against colds, flus and even scarlet fever.