Thursday 9 March 2017

Scarlet fever is back and every parent needs to watch out for these warning signs!

When our children are struck with an illness we are eager to find the right solution to bring them back to normal. When Scarlet Fever strikes, characterized by its rash, the itch, and sore throat, we rush into a frenzy to try anything to stop it. This frenzy has become more common since 2015 as there was a huge increase in scarlet fever cases, caused by a new aggressive strain. [i] Luckily, we’ve come a long way since the pre-antibiotic middle-ages and have developed ways to treat both the symptoms and cure the infection.

How Do You Get Scarlet Fever?

The common Streptococcus bacteria (the same kind that causes strep throat), infects childildren by secreting a toxin. Children who are susceptible to this bacteria will get Scarlet Fever.[ii] As a result, they develop a sunburn-like rash on the face, neck, back and chest, while the area around the mouth is left unaffected.
After six days the skin starts to peels off, alongside other symptoms:

Common Symptoms

Often Scarlet Fever is accompanied by a:
  1. Red Rash
  2. Flushed face
  3. Sore throat
  4. Itchy skin
  5. Swollen neck glands.
  6. High Fever (101°F)
  7. Abdominal pain

What Do I Do When My Child has Scarlet Fever?

Scarlet fever is contagious, [iii] and you should limit the contact your child has with friends and siblings. Separate their toothbrushes and the cutlery they use from the rest of that families to limit the spread of the infection. In addition, your child shouldn’t go out until it goes away.
Treatment requires about 10-days of antibiotics. They may improve sooner than that, but continue giving them the medicine. Wait 24 hours since their symptoms have passed before sending them back to school. [iv]
It is vital to address the bacteria because if it is left unattended, it can cause problems in the heart, kidney, and elsewhere.[v]

Treating Scarlet Fever Symptoms

With some severe discomfort, your child is probably looking for some relief. For this, there are some natural remedies you should try out before using dangerous painkillers:
  1. Apple Cider Vinegar has numerous health benefits, including the ability to heal a sore throat by warming it and adding cayenne pepper. ACV is made up of acetic acid, which also has the capability to treat infections in burn patients. [vi] Put Apple Cider Vinegar on a cotton cloth and apply it to the Scarlet Fever Rash to reduce its effects.
  2. Ingredients such as raw honey, raspberry leaves, and mint added to hot water and consumed 2-3 times a day will improve sore throats.[vii]
  3. Water vapor and humidifiers are effective at protecting your child from the dry air which provokes coughs further irritating their throat. Adding essential oils like lavender oil will have an added benefit to reduce the inflammation in their throat.[viii]
  4. Lavender Oil is good for many things. Using the property linalool,  it reduces the symptoms of the Scarlet Fever by moisturizing the dry and itchy rash. [ix] To apply lavender oil add 2% of a carrier oil like olive or almond oil to treat the rash. [x]
  5. Clip Your Childs Fingernails to keep him or her from further damaging their skin from itching it too deeply
  6. Soups, teas, and soft foods will maintain their nutrition to heal quickly, and warm fluids, like Honey-lemon tea will soothe the throat.
  7. Hydration is necessary to maintain a functioning human. Also, drinking can be an effective way to address a hoarse or scratchy throat.[xi]
  8. Stay away from irritants like cleaning supplies and of course cigarettes, as if you needed another reason to not smoke around your child.[xii]


It can be heart-wrenching to see your child go through all of this pain.  When trying to treat their symptoms it’s not only important to listen to your doctor’s instructions, but also listen to your intuition and your child as the best care can come from the compassion you two share.
[i] Fernandez C. Scarlet fever returns as family doctors are warned to watch out. Mail Online. 2016. Available at: Accessed March 6, 2017.
[ii] Scarlet Fever. Kidshealthorg. 2017. Available at: Accessed March 6, 2017.
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