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Doctor insights on: Scarlet Fever Vs Fifth Disease

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Dr. Oscar Novick
94 doctors shared insights

Fifth Disease (Definition)

A viral illness caused by parvovirus, also known as Erthema Infectiosum. It starts with a "slapped cheek" rash on cheeks and a flat red spotted rash, mostly on the arms and upper legs. Once the rash appears, you are no longer contagious. It can be harmful to an unborn baby, if mom has never had it. Adults can get joint swelling and pain. You only get it ...Read more


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How would I know if I had rheumatic heart disease? Had scarlet fever that went untreated longer than it should have 22 years ago.

How would I know if I had rheumatic heart disease? Had scarlet fever that went untreated longer than it should have 22 years ago.

An exam could help: Rheumatic heart disease is the result of a strep infection. Fortunately most don't go on to have heart involvement, particularly if the infection is treated.

If your heart valves were affected it would very likely be audible on physical exam. If your physician is suspicious, they may order an echocardiogram to confirm those suspicions. ...Read more

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Who does Scarlet fever attack?

Who does Scarlet fever attack?

Anyone can get: Scarlet Fever, which is simply a strep infection with a rash. It is no more serious than a strep throat, and if diagnosed is easily treated with an antibiotic. It got a bad reputation from the book, The Velveteen Rabbit, which was written before we had antibiotics to easily treat strep/scarlet fever. ...Read more

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What does scarlet fever look like?

What does scarlet fever look like?

Think sunburn: The color is like a sunburn & the feel is like sandpaper. It tends to start first in the under pants area, armpits & folds of the arms with an interesting pale halo around the mouth. If the is it started with a sore throat, the tongue is beefy red & tonsils swollen. It can be triggered by infection in other body areas. ...Read more

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Is rheumatic the same as scarlet fever?

Is rheumatic the same as scarlet fever?

No: Both are triggered by the same bacteria GABHS, but are different diseases. Rheumatic fever is caused by the overreaction of the own body's immune system, which may attack its own structures (like the heart and the joints). Scarlet fever occurs when that bacteria is infected with a virus that causes a toxin which makes the skin red and harsh but it may also cause rheumatic fever as a sequel. ...Read more

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How common is scarlet fever in america?

How common is scarlet fever in america?

I see cases yearly: Scarlet fever in the days before antibiotics was a truly scary disease. Weeks of high temperature and pealing red skin rash were often followed by other complications. Today it is muted by treatment. The rash generally starts within 12hrs of a fever with any strain of strep that can make the erythrotoxin. Treatment kills enough strep to minimize the rash & shorten the illness. ...Read more

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Can you get scarlet fever without a fever?

Can you get scarlet fever without a fever?

Sure: But this would be very unusual. That is how it got its name. But anything can happen. There are numerous causes for the inability to mount a fever, but the short answer is, it can happen, but rarely. ...Read more

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What do I need to know about scarlet fever?

What do I need to know about scarlet fever?

Contagious: Scarlet fever is a form of strep throat. The bacteria that infect the throat produce a substance that give you the rash. It can be treated with antibiotics. If it is left untreated it can cause rheumatic fever which affects the heart.
Someone with a strep infection is not contagious after having been on antibiotics for 24 hours. ...Read more

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Where is scarlet fever found most in the united states?

Where is scarlet fever found most in the united states?

Throughout the US: Scarlet fever is found throughout the US. It is caused by group A streptococcus, found on the noses and throat of people. It is most commonly found in children ages 5-15 years. The classic symptom of scarlet fever is a sandpaper like rash. More about scarlet fever:
https://www.cdc.gov/features/scarletfever/ ...Read more

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Is it possible to contract scarlet fever without developing a fever?

Is it possible to contract scarlet fever without developing a fever?

Scarlet fever: You may not have a fever but the rash is characteristic-sand papery and inflamed looking. If your throat culture states you have group a strep it is scarlet fever.
The symptoms should start getting better in 2-3 days. The rash may take a bit longer to go. Don't stop your antibiotics in the middle of the treatment though, even if you are better. ...Read more

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How can you defend yourself from scarlet fever?

How can you defend yourself from scarlet fever?

Avoiding Strep: Scarlet Fever is the result of a Strep infection of the throat which is also associated with a rash. Avoiding the primary throat infection by maintaining general health, frequent hand washing and not sharing cups/utensils are some ways to help prevent it. ...Read more

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Can you tell me how contagious is scarlet fever?

Can you tell me how contagious is scarlet fever?

Avoidable: With good hand washing and avoiding any oral secretions of the patient this is avoidable. Scarlet fever is just a form of group A strep disease, commonly a throat infection. Once the patient has been on antibiotic treatment for 24 hours, they are no longer considered contagious. ...Read more

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What can I do for my scarlet fever without going to a doctor?

What can I do for my scarlet fever without going to a doctor?

Scarlet Fever: The rash one gets with scarlet fever is secondary to a strep infection of your tonsils. You need to be seen and treated with antibiotics. ...Read more

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Hoping you can tell me, is "strep rash" the same as scarlet fever?

Hoping you can tell me, is "strep rash" the same as scarlet fever?

Yes and no: The strep rash is what used to be the most prominent feature of scarlet fever. But the term is more of a historical one. There was a time (lest we forget) that we did not have antibiotics. Scarlet fever described a systemic strep illness that could last more than a week with high sustained fevers over 103 and the rash. Most would recover but some developed rheumatic fever afterward. ...Read more

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I had scarlet fever as a child. I'm now 46 and all rapid strep tests result in faint positive-culture comes back neg. Is the SF somehow to blame?

I had scarlet fever as a child. I'm now 46 and all rapid strep tests result in faint positive-culture comes back neg. Is the SF somehow to blame?

No: The rapid test samples mucous/germs in your throat. It has no way of being influenced by your past medical history. Your throat mucous can never yield that data. The "faint" false positive has been proven negative enough times that it suggests a degree of unreliability for the test used, or how it is being done. ...Read more

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If a child has strep & gets scarlet fever, will the rash show up immediately when the symptoms start or can it take a few days for the rash to start?

If a child has strep & gets scarlet fever, will the rash show up immediately when the symptoms start or can it take a few days for the rash to start?

Usually soon: The rash producing chemical that is generated by the strep is created after the start of the infection when it has reproduced in enough numbers to make the rash toxin. Studies suggest it will be evident by 12 hours after the appearance of fever in the illness. Not all strep will produce the rash, only those with the extra dna to make the extra toxin. ...Read more

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Could Scarlet fever be contracted by drinking contaminated water?

Could Scarlet fever be contracted by drinking contaminated water?

Contagious: The bacteria that causes scarlet fever can be spread through nasal or throat fluids by sneezing or coughing. If there is a child with scarlet fever or strep throat, other people should avoid sharing drinking glasses or eating utensils with the infected child. Washing hands is very important to minimize infectious spread. Public water sources should not be a source of infection. ...Read more

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Is it scarlet fever when only on the arms laegs and face?

Is it scarlet fever when only on the arms laegs and face?

It could be : Possible if you were diagnosed with strep throat. Please ask your treating physician or get seen if you are concerned ...Read more

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What is the bacterial infection scarlet fever?

Strep: Scarlet fever is a rash produced by a toxin secreted by group a strep usually when they are causing strep throat. The rash is red, feels like sandpaper, may predominate in creases in the skin, there is sparing around the outside of the mouth (circumoral pallor), and it blanches with pressure. ...Read more

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What is the bacterial infection called scarlet fever from?

What is the bacterial infection called scarlet fever from?

Group A strep: Scarlet fever is caused by infection with group a streptococcus, the same bacteria that causes "strep throat". In scarlet fever, the strep bacteria releases a toxin that gives you the generalized sandpaper- like rash. Most patients will also have a sore throat, fever, and enlarged cervical lymph nodes. The treatment for scarlet fever is the same as strep throat-antibiotics such as penicillin. ...Read more

Dr. Scott Keith
72 doctors shared insights

Slapped Cheek Rash (Definition)

Slapped cheek rash is characteristic of erythema infectiosum or fifth disease. Patients with fifth disease also have a lacy red rash on the rest of their body. The organism causing this is parvovirus ...Read more


Dr. John cuong Doan
115 doctors shared insights

Scarlet Fever (Definition)

A condition consisting of a sandpaper-like rash that can occur with a strep throat infection. It starts on the neck and ...Read more