When a person is infected with the bacteria that cause scarlet fever, the bacteria begin to multiply inside the body. After one to four days, a person may begin to have symptoms. The time between infection and the first symptoms is called the scarlet fever incubation period.
The most common scarlet fever symptoms include:
- Scarlet fever rash (see Scarlet Fever Pictures)
- Reddened face
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph glands
- Tongue resembling a strawberry.
Other, less common symptoms include:
- Body aches.
After the rash is gone, the skin on the tips of the fingers and toes often begins to peel.
(Click Scarlet Fever Symptoms for more information on possible symptoms.)
In order to make a diagnosis, the doctor will ask a number of questions and perform a physical exam, looking for scarlet fever signs. If the doctor suspects scarlet fever, he or she may recommend a throat culture to make a diagnosis. If the throat culture is positive for group A streptococcus, and the person has scarlet fever symptoms, a diagnosis of scarlet fever can be made.
(Click Scarlet Fever Diagnosis for more information on this topic.)
Treatment typically involves antibiotics that can kill the bacteria. Scarlet fever treatment also focuses on relieving the symptoms of scarlet fever.
(Click Treatment for Scarlet Fever for more information on treatment options.)