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Scarlet fever in children: symptoms and treatment, photo, prevention

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Scarlet fever in children photo symptoms According to the definition, given by specialists in infectious diseases, scarlet fever is called an acute infectious disease affecting mainly children and characterized by the following pathological symptoms: severe intoxication and associated with a deterioration of health, a sore throat, a characteristic mild rash. The described disease is dangerous for its many purulent complications.

It is known that the disease as scarlet fever, was familiar to the doctors of the Middle Ages. In the 18-19 centuries, this infectious pathology was described in detail and highlighted in a separate clinical form.

Children most often seek medical help from the age of 3 to 10 years, which is due to two main reasons:

  • Imperfect immune defense mechanisms of the body;
  • Stay in child care facilities where mutual infection occurs quite often.

In children whose age has exceeded 10 years of age, as well as adults, susceptibility to infection with streptococcus is significantly reduced. This is due to the "maturation" of the immune system and the rapid preparation of a peculiar response of the body in response to the entry of the pathogen into it. However, this does not exclude the probability of occurrence of the disease.

It is important to remember that scarlet fever is diagnosed very rarely in newborn babies, as well as babies of the first year of life. This is due to the presence in their bloodstream of maternal protective (immune) cells that enter it through the placenta.



Risk factors for scarlet fever

There is a hypothesis that children with the following risk factors are most susceptible to the development of this disease:

  • chronic tonsillitis ;
  • atopic dermatitis in children ;
  • various forms of exudative diathesis;
  • reduced body weight (or hypotrophy);
  • AIDS or any other immunity disorders;
  • diabetes mellitus, adrenal pathology;
  • chronic pathological changes in the nasopharynx;
  • regular intake of glucocorticosteroids or any other means that reduces the severity of the immune response.


Causes of scarlet fever

Today it is clearly shown that the causative agent of scarlet fever in both adults and children is toxic hemolytic streptococcus, which belongs to group A. This pathogen produces toxic substances that, when absorbed into the bloodstream, have a pronounced general effect on the entire body. This leads to the appearance of signs of intoxication in a small patient.

Very important is the fact that the above pathogen can cause other diseases in the body, in addition to scarlet fever. So, in infected people may develop rheumatism, erysipelas and other pathologies.

Attempts were also made to substantiate the role of viruses in the pathogenesis of this infectious disease, but they were unsuccessful.

A healthy carriage of the described streptococcus species is also possible. However, in sick people, the concentration of this bacterium in the blood, urine, and washes from the tonsils is hundreds of times higher than in healthy ones.

How does the infection occur?


The most dangerous for a healthy child is contact with a sick patient who, by airborne droplets (sneezing, kissing, talking, coughing, etc.) gives him hemolytic streptococcus.

Despite the fact that a disease such as scarlet fever can be infected at any stage of its development in a sick person, the most likely transmission of infection is in the acute period of the described pathological condition.

People with erased and / or asymptomatic forms of scarlet fever are quite dangerous to others. Such persons are estimated by epidemiologists about 2/3 of the number of all cases.

The causative agent of the described infection is excreted mainly from the mucus of the oral cavity (or rather, pharynx), as well as the nasopharynx.

Transmission of scarlet fever from healthy carriers of this disease has no scientific evidence. The possibility of infection through household items has also not been proven, since the hemolytic streptococcus quickly dies in the environment.

A few words about immunity

In most cases, the body produces antibodies not so much in relation to the microorganism itself, as to the toxic substances secreted by it.

There are two options for the formation of resistant immunity to scarlet fever:

  • as a result of acute infection;
  • as a result of frequent repeated contacts with the causative agent of this disease, which, however, did not lead to the development of the clinical picture.

Despite the fact that most people who have suffered from scarlet fever again do not become ill with this pathology, 1-1.5% of patients re-become infected with the development of appropriate clinical symptoms.

How does scarlet fever develop?

After penetration of the microorganism into the blood, the following sequence of pathological reactions develops:

  • a large amount of hemolytic streptococcus toxins is formed;
  • an allergic reaction develops;
  • joins another infection.

The toxic phase is most characteristic of the initial stages of the disease. Its main features are disorders of the nervous system, which controls all systems of the body. This is most clearly manifested at the level of metabolic processes.

The allergic phase is most clearly represented on the 14-21th day of the development of scarlet fever. Clinically, it is manifested by fever (wave-like type), palpitations, and various complications (synovitis, nephritis, lymphadenitis, etc.).

The above pathological processes lead to impaired barrier function of the skin and mucous membranes, as well as depletion of the mechanisms of immune protection. As a result, other diseases are often added to scarlet fever.

Another interesting fact is that, in addition to the mucous membranes of the pharynx and pharynx, hemolytic streptococcus can enter the body in other ways (for example, through the wound surface).

What is the prognosis for a patient with scarlet fever?

Today scarlet fever almost never leads to death, which is associated with the widespread use of antibiotic therapy.

However, in a certain percentage of clinical situations the infection is extremely difficult. This is especially characteristic of cases occurring with a primary lesion of the internal organs (skin, uterus, lungs, etc.). As mentioned above, household or postoperative wounds serve as an entrance gate.

Symptoms of scarlet fever in children

In most cases, the duration of the incubation period is 3-7 days (sometimes it can be up to 11).

Classically, scarlet fever begins acutely and is manifested by a rapid increase in body temperature to 39 0 -40 0 C. The condition of the child is complicated by pain when swallowing solid and liquid foods, vomiting, and sometimes nausea. During the first 12 hours of the onset of the development of the disease, the skin remains clean, but it feels hot to the touch. A rash at this time can be found only in the area of ​​the pharynx. Pathological changes appear on the skin a little later and, as a rule, by the end of the 2nd day they are already quite distinct. By the same period, signs of intoxication and angina reach a maximum.

The rash in the described disease has its own characteristics. It first appears in the neck, then spreads to the back and upper chest. It is most distinctly discernible on the arms (flexion areas), as well as on the inner thighs, inguinal folds and lateral parts of the abdomen. In these areas, the rash not only looks brighter, but also lasts longer.

The “zone of exclusion” deserves special attention, where the skin always remains clean. These include: lips, nasolabial triangle, mid-face and chin. These areas appear very pale against the background of bright red spots of pigmentation. With the appearance of pronounced signs of rash, it is possible to detect a light yellowness of the sclera.

The color of the rash can vary from pale pink to cherry. Outwardly, they resemble very small dots, but on the folds the rash is shaped like linear stripes (the so-called Pastia symptom). Because of the fragility of the capillaries, hemorrhages can occur in the deep-lying layers of the skin. In most cases, itching for all the above symptoms is not observed.

Angina is one of the classic signs of scarlet fever. It is manifested by the appearance of a bright red color of the pharynx, as well as films on the tonsils. Clinically, this condition is characterized by difficulty in swallowing, as well as swelling and soreness when palpating the local lymph nodes.

The lips of a child with scarlet fever are dry, constantly cracking. The tongue may be covered with a white and yellow bloom. At the same time, from the 3rd day of illness he begins to gradually get rid of them, as a result of which the tip and edges contrast sharply with the rest of the tongue (it has a crimson-red hue).

Signs of intoxication syndrome with scarlet fever are manifested by severe headache, irritability, anxiety. In very severe cases, seizures may occur. In 60-80% of children with the described disease there is marked vomiting.

As for the organs of the digestive system, when scarlet fever their function is not sharply disturbed. Most patients have constipation, but diarrhea is more common in infants.

Symptoms of scarlet fever in children Photos of scarlet fever in children

How does the uncomplicated form of scarlet fever proceed?

From 4-5 days the symptoms of the disease begin to undergo the opposite development: the severity of intoxication weakens, the temperature decreases. By 5-7 days, mild forms of sore throats are completely resolved. The tongue is completely cleared by 10-14 days of the disease. As for the rash, it should completely disappear by 5-7 days (pigmentation after it should not remain).

From the end of the second week of scarlet fever, peeling appears, which is especially pronounced on the auricles, neck, pubic region and axillae. Especially large layers of skin can go on the palms, fingers and toes. As a rule, desquamation completely disappears in 14-21 days from the appearance of the first signs of scarlet fever.

Diagnosis of scarlet fever

Despite the fact that an experienced pediatrician can make a diagnosis during a general examination (the main symptoms are characteristic rash and sore throat), it is recommended to run the following diagnostic program:

  • A clinical (general) blood test (with scarlet fever, there is an increase in various leukocyte populations, especially neutrophils and eosinophils. In most cases, the ESR value also increases significantly).
  • A smear on the definition of pharyngeal microflora (characterized by the release of group A streptococcus when sowing the obtained biological material on nutrient media).
  • Blood test (venous) with the determination of antibody titer to the causative agent of scarlet fever. This study is conducted in dynamics to determine the immunological readiness of the body.

Scarlet fever treatment in children

As mentioned above, the main in the treatment of scarlet fever is the correct and timely prescription of antibacterial agents. In this case, preference is given to penicillin analogs ( amoxicillin ) or to a group of macrolides (azithromycin). In particularly severe cases, cephalosporins (ceftriaxone) can be attributed.

In order to relieve the severity of the child’s condition, it is imperative to prescribe drugs with detoxification effects. With severe and moderate scarlet fever, intravenous infusions are indicated. If the child does not have indications for hospitalization, then the proper drinking regimen should be arranged at home. The volume of fluid should be determined by the attending physician, taking into account the age of the baby.

Since streptococcus secretes a large amount of toxins, the child must take antiallergic drugs. It should be remembered that their choice should be approached with extreme caution, since many of them are contraindicated in children under 12 years of age.

At high temperatures, the child should be given anti-inflammatory drugs. Remember that the use of aspirin in children's practice is prohibited! Recommended ibuprofen or paracetamol.

If small hemorrhages are observed, then it is possible to recommend the means strengthening a wall of vessels. These include the well-known drug called Askorutin.

In order to alleviate the symptoms of angina, we can recommend local treatment with antiseptic solutions. In some cases (but not in the acute period) you can use tube quartz.

Prevention of scarlet fever in children

The best way to protect yourself from infection is to wash your hands with soap more often. You should also avoid sharing dishes with the sick, towels and other personal items.

In addition, younger children should be taught from childhood to cover their mouths when sneezing and coughing, in order to prevent the possible spread of germs. If the child has an infection on the skin caused by streptococcal bacteria, it can also spread to other people. Be sure to handle the cup, plate and spoon of the child. Processing is soaking dishes (soap boiling water).

In everyday life, there is no ideal way to avoid infections that cause scarlet fever. When a child is sick and at home, it’s safest to keep the baby’s dishes away from other family members. Moms whose baby is sick are advised to wash their hands at least 5 times a day. There are also important factors that affect scarlet fever infection. It:

  • genetic predisposition;
  • previous diseases (sore throat);
  • environmental factors (poor sanitation, overcrowding and lack of clean water).

In order for the child to have little chance of getting scarlet fever, it is necessary to treat a sore throat on time and to the end. Another important point is to be in the home of a pregnant woman during the illness of the child. This is dangerous for both the future mother and the baby. Doctors advise a woman to wear a mask, and a sick baby to be at least in the next room.

What else is important to know about scarlet fever?

  • Despite the fact that hemolytic streptococcus is the causative agent of a fairly large number of infections, and also determines the severity of the condition for scarlet fever, it is easily treatable with antibacterial drugs.
  • If the drug is chosen correctly, then the child’s condition can be relieved within 24-48 hours.
  • In milder forms of the disease, which are satisfactorily tolerated by a child, hospitalization in an infectious hospital is not required.
  • It is desirable that after suffering the child no longer anywhere in contact with persons infected with streptococcus. Otherwise, the risk of allergic and infectious complications is high.
  • The outcome of scarlet fever can be twofold. With the timely start of antibiotic therapy, almost all children recover without any undesirable consequences for the body. However, if the treatment was wrong and / or untimely, then the risk of complications is extremely high.
  • Antibacterial agents help cure the disease in a short time, but they interfere with the normal production of antibodies. This is due to a very rapid elimination of streptococcus from the body. As a result, a recurrent disease can develop, which in most cases is either very mild or without any symptoms.
  • After complete cure, the child should not contact with other children or attend organized groups (clubs, gardens, schools) for at least another 21-22 days.

What diseases can remind scarlet fever?

It is necessary to distinguish the described disease from such pathological conditions as measles, allergic reactions, rubella.

Which doctor to contact?

The treatment of such diseases as scarlet fever is done by a pediatric infectious disease disease.


| 18 March 2014 | | 30 062 | Male diseases
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  • | Katya Veroniva | November 23, 2015

    Thanks for the information.

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Awesome Things: Agreed. Years ago , thought I just had a cold coming. Caught strep! Way worse than a cold!Very evil organism!! Gargle with peroxide for 60seconds a day for 2 weeks, spray collodial silver twice a day in your throat , ears, nose for one week. See a doctor for antibiotics at the same time. This method is100% effective. Strep did cause pain in the heart and chest as I was misdiagnosed with a cold initially. And mine was resistant to antibiotics, hence why aggressive treatment was needed.

Solivia Devina: Hi my name is rachel and I have sore troath iam a kid And this gives me: Puke Cold body while sleep To many when you spit some thing I forgot And i cant eat rice

Clearblurr -: I went to the doctor yesterday and they gave me some medication to take every 6 hours for 7 days. Would that eventually make strep disappear?

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