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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Scarlet fever is an infection caused by bacteria. This bacteria makes a toxin (poison) that can cause a red rash on the skin. Scarlet fever is most common in children between 5 and 15 years of age.
Return to the emergency department if:
- It becomes difficult for your child to eat, drink, or breathe.
- Your child cries without tears.
- Your child has a dry mouth or cracked lips.
- Your child is more sleepy or irritable than usual.
- Your child has a sunken soft spot on the top of his head.
- Your child urinates less than usual or not at all.
- Your child says he feels dizzy.
Call your child's doctor if:
- Your child has a fever.
- Your child is tugging at his ears or has ear pain.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight an infection caused by bacteria. Give your child this medicine exactly as ordered by his healthcare provider. Do not stop giving your child the antibiotics unless directed by his healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or give your child leftover antibiotics that were given to him for another illness.
- Ibuprofen or acetaminophen: These medicines are given to decrease your child's pain and fever. They can be bought without a doctor's order. Ask how much medicine is safe to give your child, and how often to give it.
- Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age: Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
- Give your child's medicine as directed. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him or her if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Manage your child's symptoms:
- Give your child warm liquids, such as soup, or cold foods, like popsicles or milkshakes. This may help ease the pain of the sore throat.
- Use a cool mist humidifier to increase air moisture in your home. This may make it easier for your child to breathe and help decrease his or her cough.
- Your child may need more rest than he realizes while he heals. Quiet play will keep your child safely busy so he does not become restless and risk injuring himself. Have your child read or draw quietly. Follow instructions for how much rest your child should get while he heals.
Return to school:
Your child may return to school 24 hours after he begins antibiotic medicine and when his fever has been gone for a day.
Prevent scarlet fever:
- Wash your hands and your child's hands often. Wash your hands several times each day. Wash after you use the bathroom, change a child's diaper, and before you prepare or eat food. Wash your child's hands after he or she uses the bathroom or sneezes. Wash your child's hands before he or she eats. Use soap and water every time. Rub your soapy hands together, lacing your fingers. Wash the front and back of your hands, and in between your fingers. Use the fingers of one hand to scrub under the fingernails of the other hand. Wash for at least 20 seconds. Rinse with warm, running water for several seconds. Then dry your hands with a clean towel or paper towel. Use germ-killing gel if soap and water are not available. Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands first.
- Keep your child away from others who are sick. Separate your child from siblings who are sick. Ask friends and family not to visit if they are sick.
- Clean toys and surfaces. Clean toys that are shared with other children. Use a disinfectant solution to clean common surfaces.
Follow up with your child's doctor as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visit.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
Learn more about Scarlet Fever (Aftercare Instructions)
IBM Watson Micromedex
Symptoms and treatments
Mayo Clinic Reference
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