Defining scarlet fever
A bright red rash that feels a lot like sandpaper could be an indication that either you or your child have contracted an infection, known as scarlet fever. Also known as scarlatina, scarlet fever typically occurs in those who have strep throat.
A group of bacteria, known as streptococcus pyogenes bacteria (group A strep or group A beta-haemolytic streptococcus), also cause strep throat, producing a toxin in the body that ultimately causes a rash breakout on the body (a distinct scarlet coloured rash) and sometimes even a red-dotted tongue. The scarlet fever rash typically resembles sunburn as it begins to develop and progresses to inflamed bumps. It usually develops on the neck, chest, back and stomach and then spreads to the rest of the body. A high fever and sore throat are other key symptoms you may experience if infected with this bacterium.
An infection with scarlet fever is not all that common, but does tend to affect children between the ages of 5 and 15 years more often than adults or babies.
A child that develops a strep throat infection is at higher risk of scarlet fever too. As it is a bacterial illness, burns and wounds that become infected can also develop into scarlet fever. If left untreated, a scarlet fever infection can lead to serious complications affecting the kidneys or heart. It is advisable to have a medical professional assess a rash that develops as soon as possible so as to avoid any potential complications if left too late.