Scarlet Fever: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Scarlet fever is a term used for strep throat with a rash. Scarlet fever and strep infections are treated with antibiotics. Treatment can prevent serious problems from strep infection.

The rough, red rash that occurs with scarlet fever usually fades in about a week. At that time the skin may begin to peel.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It’s also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your antibiotics exactly as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • The strep infection that causes scarlet fever can spread to others until 24 hours after you begin taking antibiotics. During this time, you should avoid contact with other people, especially infants and children. Do not go to work or school until 1 full day after you began taking antibiotics. Keep your drinking glass and eating utensils separate, and wash these items well in hot, soapy water.
  • Gargle with warm salt water once an hour to help reduce swelling and relieve pain. Use 1 teaspoon of salt mixed in 1 cup of warm water.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Be careful when taking over-the-counter cold or flu medicines and Tylenol at the same time. Many of these medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Read the labels to make sure that you are not taking more than the recommended dose. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • An over-the-counter anesthetic throat spray or throat lozenges may help relieve throat pain.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Fluids may help soothe an irritated throat. Hot fluids, such as tea or soup, may help relieve throat pain.
  • While your throat is very sore, use liquid nourishment such as soup or high-protein drinks.
  • Get lots of rest.
  • Do not smoke, and avoid second-hand smoke. If you need help quitting, talk to your doctor about stop-smoking programs and medicines. These can increase your chances of quitting for good.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your pain gets much worse on one side of your throat.
  • You notice changes in your voice.
  • You have trouble opening your mouth.
  • You have increased trouble breathing.
  • You have increased trouble swallowing.
  • Your child with scarlet fever acts very sick.
  • You have a stiff neck.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You have a new fever.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

Enter K811 in the search box to learn more about "Scarlet Fever: Care Instructions."

Current as of: July 29, 2016