​Scarlet Fever

  • Infection caused by group A Streptococcus (strep) bacteria

Signs and Symptoms

  • Usually begins with a red, sore throat with white patches
  • Other symptoms may include fever, swollen glands in the neck, headache, chills, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.
  • A few days later a fine red rash, which feels like sandpaper, appears.
  • The rash usually appears on the neck, chest, under the arms, elbow and groin, and on the inner thighs.
  • When the rash begins to fade, the skin may begin to peel,
  • A white coating may appear on the surface of the tongue, and the tongue itself will look like a strawberry because the normal bumps will look bigger.


  • Spread by direct contact with the saliva and nasal discharge of an infected person
  • Can also be spread through the air when the infected person talks, coughs or sneezes


  • Scarlet fever is treated with antibiotics.
  • If your child’s throat is sore, provide soothing drinks, soft foods, soups or ice cream. Make sure that your child drinks plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration (not enough water).


  • Good hand washing is the single best way to prevent the spread of infection. Teach your child to wash his/her hands with soap and water, especially after coughing, sneezing, wiping his/her nose and before eating or preparing food.
  • Teach your child to cover his/her mouth when sneezing or coughing, and not to share food, drinks or eating utensils.

A person with scarlet fever should be excluded from daycare/school/work until 24 hours after starting antibiotics.