What Parents Need to Know About Scarlet Fever
An old disease has recently made a comeback, which has made a lot of parents concerned. It is called “scarlet fever.” It was once almost completely phased out because of the invention of antibiotics. But the overuse of them has caused a surge in its return because of the new antibiotic-resistant strains of the disease that have developed. It occurs most commonly in children up to 15-years-old. Because of this, it is important that parents know what signs of it to look out for and what to do if their child develops it.
What is Scarlet Fever?
Scarlet fever is a streptococcus bacterial infection that stems from strepthroat. It spreads throughout the body, and the toxins that develop from it cause a widespread rash. It makes the skin itchy and raw. Most children who get it say their skin feels like sandpaper. The redness is worse in the creases of the body, but it doesn’t show up in the area around the lips. After six days, the skin affected by the rash peels off.
Scarlet Fever Symptoms
Besides the scarlet-colored rash, those who contract this disease also get a bad sore throat, which is swollen and red with white and yellow patches. And a fever that is over 101 degrees Fahrenheit is common too. You may also notice swollen glands on the back of their neck and a pale area of skin around their lips. Sometimes, children also get a stomachache with it accompanied with nausea and vomiting.
Is it Serious?
If left untreated, scarlet fever can turn into rheumatic fever, which affects the whole body. This disease can attack the heart, kidneys, and other organs. So it should never be ignored.
Treating Scarlet Fever
Scarlet fever is contagious so be sure to separate siblings and limit their contact. Since the disease is caused by bacteria, the usual treatment is a ten-day course of antibiotics. But this doesn’t always work for antibiotic-resistant forms of scarlet fever. You need to wait at least 24 hours after their symptoms of scarlet fever symptoms to pass before sending them off to school.
Scarlet Fever Home Remedies
Many parents turn to natural treatments to help their children get better. The following is a list of several home remedies that have proven to be effective against scarlet fever:
The itchy rash will get worse if a child scratches it. An infection can also develop from the open sores. So keep the child’s nails trim and clean.
Keeping a humidifier in the child’s bedroom will reduce coughing fits that irritate the throat. A little lavender essential oil added to the humidifier will also help the child sleep better. Avoid strong scents in the room, such as eucalyptus.
Soft Food Diet
It is very difficult for children with strepthroat to swallow, so they need meals prepared for them that consist only of soft foods and soothing liquids. Besides warm tea and ginger ale, applesauce, gelatin, soup, and rice are good choices to serve them.
Avoid All Irritants
Keep all perfumes, cleaning products, and other irritants away from the child until they are completely healed.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Many rashes and skin diseases can be treated by dabbing on apple cider vinegar with a cottonball, and scarlet fever is no exception. It dries out the rash and reduces the itching because of the high level of acetic acid that it contains. The best type of apple cider vinegar to use is organic because other non-organic types sometimes include petroleum products that are irritating to the skin.
Drink Plenty of Water
The body can flush the infection out faster if it is hydrated. Stick with water though. Sodas and sugary drinks have the opposite effect.
Raspberry & Mint Tea
The inflammation, pain, and swelling of the sore throat that accompanies this disease can be reduced by sipping a warm cup of raspberry and mint tea. Adding a little honey will make the tea taste sweeter, but it is also healing because honey has natural anti-bacterial properties.
Lavender Essential Oil
This essential oil can be mixed with a carrier oil and applied directly to the skin to soothe it. All essential oils are concentrated, so it is best to never use them undiluted. Chamomile and frankincense essential oils are also helpful.
So remember, this disease is serious, but by following these easy tips, you can get your child better fast. Be sure to wear a mask and gloves while you care for your child to reduce the risk of contracting the infection yourself. It is best to keep the infected child away from other children in the house too.
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