Kids often get sore throats but shake them off. Sometimes, however, a sore throat can turn nasty. For example, some kids get tonsillitis and, more rarely, scarlet fever. How can you tell if your child's case of strep throat has turned into scarlet fever?
Their Throat Isn't Getting Better
Mild problems with a sore throat often start to clear up after a day or two. However, if your child has scarlet fever, then their symptoms may worsen rather than get better. For example, your child's temperature may be high or stay high for longer than you'd expect. Their tonsils are likely to be red and enlarged; you may also see white or yellow spots on the tonsils. In some cases, the glands in your child's neck may swell as well. Your child may also feel more ill than they might with a regular sore throat. They may feel sick and have a headache. They just won't feel up to doing much.
They Have a Rash
The bacteria in scarlet fever may give your child a distinctive rash on certain parts of their body. This is sometimes called a sandpaper rash because of the way it feels. A scarlet fever rash is typically rough to the touch and doesn't feel smooth. Your child may look like they've been in the sun too much. This rash is most likely to appear on your child's chest or back, but it can appear on their legs and arms. Your child may not get a rash on their face, but they may look redder there than usual. Often, their face will look flushed but the area around the mouth stays pale and white.
Their Skin Peels
As scarlet fever progresses through its cycle, you may notice that parts of your child's skin start to peel. This tends to happen on extremities like their hands, fingers and toes.
Their Tongue Changes Colour
One of the most obvious signs that your child might have scarlet fever is their tongue. Generally, this infection turns the tongue a bright red colour. This colour change is often called strawberry tongue. It's easy to spot because the tongue will suddenly turn the same colour as a strawberry.
If your child has any of these symptoms or simply can't shake off a sore throat, then take them to your GP. If they do have scarlet fever, then they are likely to need a dose of antibiotics. While scarlet fever itself is easily managed with medication, it's important to get treatment quickly. Left alone, this infection can, in rare cases, lead to heart problems.