Scarlet fever: Symptoms, Pictures and Treatment

Scarlet fever is as rubella or chicken pox is a common childhood disease. What is scarlet from? What are the symptoms and how runs the infection? Find the answers to your Fragen.Im Unlike measles and chicken pox is scarlet fever caused by bacteria. Specifically, by Group A streptococci (Streptococcus pyogenes). These are among the most frequent causes of bacterial infections of the upper respiratory tract, especially the tonsils and the posterior pharyngeal wall (Streptococcus tonsillitis).

Scarlet fever usually occurs in children aged in between three and eight years on, but adults are not immune from the infection. Not even if they had scarlet fever before.

Scarlet fever symptoms and disease progression

Scarlet fever is contagious, takes place the transfer of bacteria by lubricating and droplet infection, ie by coughing, sneezing and physical contact. After a Incubation period of one to five days come the first signs of scarlet on: The child complains of a sore throat, can not swallow properly and has a fever. There are also pallor and listlessness. If you look in the neck, you see the following: palate, uvula and tonsils are bright red. On the tonsils yellowish coverings (Stippchen) occur gradually in appearance, which may be absent at first. 

The typical & quot; strawberry tongue & quot; in scarlet fever: what it looks like. (Photo: Dr. Rautenstrauch)

the typical "strawberry tongue" in scarlet fever: what it looks like.

© Dr. Rautenstrauch

These symptoms are skin lesions. The typical velvety feinfleckige scarlet rash spreads to the groin and armpit area to the whole body. Only the area around the mouth is strikingly pale. The lymph nodes of the jaw are painfully swollen.

velvety, feinfleckiger scarlet rash

velvety, feinfleckiger scarlet rash

© Dr. Rautenstrauch

Typical also: Scarlet tongue or strawberry tongue. The tongue is raspberry in the streptococcal infection after two to three days, added often comes a purulent rhinitis, as the scarlet pathogens accumulate in the rear nasal passages. In severe cases it can also lead to a middle ear infection or sinusitis. After the first days of illness, the scarlet rash disappears, the child acts is now strikingly pale - with the exception of strawberry tongue and crimson throat.

Without antibiotic treatment may worsen approximately 14 days after onset again after a recovery period of the state. Here it is important to maintain adequate rest.

Scarlet fever symptoms include:

Perioral pallor: To the mouth is not a scarlet rash

Perioral pallor: To the mouth is not a scarlet rash

© iStock

➤ sore throat, especially when swallowing
➤ crimson inflamed throat
➤ red, swollen tonsils, in the course with yellowish deposits
➤ pale face, especially around the mouth
➤ soft, swollen, painful lymph nodes under the jaw in contact angle
➤ reddish, feinfleckiger, velvety rash (not itchy!), Beginning in the inguinal and axillary region (recess in the mouth area)
➤ white coated tongue, which is raspberry in the course of the disease ("strawberry tongue" or "strawberry tongue")
➤ fever
➤ in the healing phase scaling of the skin, especially on the fingers and toes

treat with antibiotics scarlet

The typical scarlet tongue usually occurs after 2 to 3 days.

© Dr. Rautenstrauch

A scarlet-infection is a usually with antibiotic treated either in juice or tablet form. In addition, sufficient Rest and care important so that the infection heals better. The formerly typical sequelae of scarlet such as rheumatic fever, nephritis or myocarditis, which occurred mainly in the third week of the disease are due to antibiotic therapy and good nutritional status of children has become extremely rare.

A Vaccination against Streptococcal infection does not exist, you can plug it in again after an infection as an adult. Does your child have scarlet fever, it should have as little contact with others in order to reduce the risk of infection. Contagious Scarlet fever is up to 24 hours after initiation of antibiotic therapy. Is not an antibiotic used is up to the resolution of symptoms contagion - so about three weeks.

Three common questions about Scarlet

➤ How long scarlet?

The Scarlet Aussschlag disappears, the skin peels.

The Scarlet Aussschlag disappears, the skin peels.

© Dr. Rautenstrauch

Without antibiotic treatment Scarlet fever is endured for about 3 weeks. Then, the entire skin, especially on the soles and palms peels. It was only after four weeks the child is normal loads again, it sports allowed after a scarlet fever disease drive only after six weeks.

➤ scarlet fever rash or at least measles / rubella?
Unlike measles and rubella the slightly raised scarlet rash does not itch. In mild pressure (eg with a wooden spatula) he faded for a short time. The rash can also be completely absent in a repeated infection.

➤ When the doctor? 

If the suspected scarlet fever persists, you should always go with your child to the doctor. He can assess the severity of infection. If antibiotics are to be administered, the disease should be closely monitored recognized in time for complications and treat.


In babies and children rashes are not uncommon. But what does the young, exactly? We give a little help.

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