What's in this article?
A strep rash, which is also known as scarlatina, usually occurs when a strep throat condition develops or is present. Strep throat is an infection of the throat caused by Streptococcus bacteria. When a person has this strep throat problem the typical symptoms are: a high fever (around 39.5 degrees Celsius or 103 degrees Fahrenheit), frequent chills, headaches, a throat that is very sore, irritated, and red – making swallowing and eating or drinking difficult, enlarged tonsils (if present) that may be covered in white, grey, or yellow spots or coatings, and swollen glands or lymph nodes in the neck area.
It is easy to tell when you have a sore throat or a cold. It is harder to know when you have strep throat. Typically, sore throats are caused by a viral infection and not strep bacteria. Strep throat usually does not occur with cold symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, or a runny or stuffy nose. The more cold symptoms you have, the less likely it is that your sore throat is a strep infection.
In some cases of strep infection, a skin rash develops and spreads over the neck and chest and eventually over the whole body. The rash feels rough like sandpaper. This condition is called scarlet fever. Scarlet fever is treated with antibiotics. This usually leads to a quick recovery. Scarlet fever is not dangerous if treated.
Strep rash (scarlatina) is also known as scarlet fever often accompanies strep throat, but don’t confuse this with common types of skin rash like those caused by allergic reactions.
Strep rash is a type of skin rash that is associated with strep throat and scarlet fever. Occurrence of strep rash is rare in case of strep throat, but is commonly found in scarlet fever. It has been observed that, in most cases scarlet fever is caused by strep throat. Both strep throat and scarlet fever are caused by group A streptococcus (strep) bacteria, but, scarlet fever is often caused as a complication of strep throat. Strep rash is one of the most common symptoms of scarlet fever and the name scarlet fever is derived from this scarlet-colored rash. Some strep skin infections, like, cellulitis, can also cause this rash. Read on for some detailed information about itchy strep rash.
What is Strep Rash?
As mentioned above, strep rash is a symptom of scarlet fever and in some rare instances, it may develop in people with strep throat too. Strep throat is caused by group A streptococcus (strep) bacteria and the common symptoms of this condition are chills, headaches, redness, irritation and pain in the throat, enlarged tonsils, strep throat rash, etc. The person may also have swollen lymph nodes in neck. Strep throat may develop into scarlet fever in some people and this condition is evidenced by the development of strep rash. This happens after 24 to 48 hours of the occurrence of strep throat symptoms. By this time, the bacteria releases toxins into the body and these toxins result in allergic skin reactions, like, strep rash. This rash can be distinguished from other types of rash with the help of other scarlet fever symptoms, like, fever, chills, headache, nausea or vomiting, flushed face with paleness around the mouth, etc.
Strep rash also known as scarlatina or scarlet fever is one of the more common types of skin rashes. And it usually occurs during a bout of strep throat.
Looking at pictures of skin rashes, you’ll see that many look similar which is why getting a diagnosis is difficult. That is why its best to see your physician to get a skin rash diagnosis.
According to the American Dermatology Association a strep rash usually appears about 12 and 48 hours after strep throat manifests. Some symptoms of strep throat include a headache, sore throat, high fever, swollen glands and infected tonsils.
A strep rash looks like a bad sunburn with little red bumps. These bumps can start on the chest and then develop into a groin rash, underarm rash, and into a rash on the legs. It can also develop into a sweaty rash and be very itchy.
When the skin is pressed, the area of the rash turns white which is why some people may mistake it for sunburn. A strep rash may last about 7-10 days, but the skin itching and peeling may persist for weeks.
Strep rashes are most common in children and young teens 5-15 years of age. Antibiotics are the most common course of treatment and may clear the strep throat and rash, but the itching might still persist.
Note that strep rash can also develop when someone gets a strep skin infection. If this is the case, its necessary to get immediate professional care.
While a strep rash is not contagious, the strep infection is very contagious. You can protect yourself against this by keeping your hands clean, especially during flu season. Also, avoid contact with others until you have been taking antibiotics for a least a full day. You can also arm yourself with an herbal tonic that helps boost your immune system and keeps the skin healthy.
Strep Rash – What is Strep Rash in Kids?
If you have kids that are prone to sore throats you will probably know what Strep Throat is but do you know what Strep Rash is? You do not hear the term Strep Rash in kids very often but the more commonly used term you have probably heard is Scarlet Fever. Strep Rash (or Scarlet Fever) is actually a very common ‘side effect’ of Strep Throat that is sometimes mistaken for other illnesses. So let’s talk about Strep Rash and what you can do to determine if your child has it and what you can do to help relieve the symptoms. First off, you will notice the common word “Strep” in Strep Throat and Strep Rash. That’s because both are directly related to the Streptococcus Bacterium which is often found in the throat and on the skin of affected children. Strep bacteria can cause many infections in kids from sore throats to skin infections and sometimes very serious diseases. When we talk about Strep Rash, this is actually the skin rash that can develop in those with Strep Throat and the symptoms that accompany the rash can be very uncomfortable to young children.
SYMPTOMS OF STREP RASH
Strep Rash (ie. Scarlet Fever or Scarlatina) can very often be mistaken for other similar skin related illnesses such as Chickenpox, Measles and even Psoriasis. It most often starts within 48 hours after the symptoms of Strep Throat appear and it will take the appearance of a red rash which develops on your child’s face or torso. Over the next day or so after symptoms appear, the rash will quickly spread to other areas of the body including the hands, neck, arms and legs.
The rash itself is reddish in color, similar to sunburn, and can consist of many small red pimples over the affected areas. For children, the areas where the skin flexes and folds (i.e. arm pits, elbows, neck area, etc) can become the most irritated as movement in those spots tends to create the most pain and itchyness. Peeling of the skin, again much like sunburn, is also something that can occur during the final stages of the illness. Strep Rash can also include other symptoms such as head aches, fever, red lines on the skin, bumpy tongue and itchy skin and can be very uncomfortable to children, as most skin conditions are.
Not all children who develop Strep Throat will come down with Strep Rash. But, because they both originate from the streptococcus bacterium, parents need to keep an eye out for any skin rash that occurs during the illness. We’ve included some pictures below of Strep Rash and as you’ll notice it is easy to see how it could be mistaken for other illnesses.
STREP RASH TREATMENT
The good news is that with proper treatment Strep Rash or Scarlet Fever is totally curable and will resolve itself over time. Some children with milder cases of Strep will only require a few days begin feeling better while other more serious cases may take upwards of a few weeks to totally get over the infection.
In order to best treat Strep Rash it is highly recommended that children are treated as quickly as possible by their Pediatrician. Once diagnosed, most doctors will immediately prescribe an antibiotic specifically for treating bacterial infections like Strep. Within the first one to two doses of the antibiotic, most children will begin to feel much better with continuing improvement over the next few days.
Treating the symptoms of the rash is mainly done via over the counter medicines and lotions. To help relieve the itchy skin issues most doctors will recommend an allergy product such as Benadryl which is very effective in masking some of the side effects from the irritated and itchy skin. In addition, bathing with Aveeno Skin Relief Bath Treatments and using Aveeno skin lotions is highly recommended to relieve the itch associated with the rash.
As with any illness, parents should keep a close eye on children diagnosed with Strep Throat, Strep Rash, Scarlett Fever, etc as the severity of symptoms can change at a moments notice. If the rash starts to become more severe or a high fever develops, do not hesitate to take your child to the hospital or a Ready Care facility for immediate assistance.