My kids were diagnosed with scarlet fever, or scarlatina. How long is incubation? When are they contagious? What are the symptoms? How long should they stay out of school?
Scarlet fever is one of those scary-sounding diseases from long ago. Luckily, it is not as big a threat as it once was. Scarlet fever only occurs in people with streptococcus throat infections, better known as strep throat.
Scarlet fever has become far less common today, because it can often be prevented with prompt antibiotic treatment of strep throat. The treatment is the treatment for strep, about 10 days worth of antibiotics. This is rarely a serious illness.
The symptoms are similar to that of strep throat — fever, sore throat, swollen glands and loss of appetite. Scarlet fever is characterized by a bright red rash on the face that may spread throughout the body and later start to peel. The rash may or may not itch. There may also be nausea and vomiting.
The incubation period is two to seven days. The rash lasts at least three days, and with treatment the disease can last 10 to 12 days.
Make sure your children take the full course of antibiotics, exactly as prescribed. They probably won’t feel like going to school until the rash and sore throat disappear. Strep bacteria are highly contagious, so check with your doctor about when it is safe to send the kids back to school.