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Illnesses
Scarlet Fever



Scarlet Fever
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.27

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    cool-mist, erythromycin, meningitis, onset, rheumatic, scarlatina, scarlet-colored, sinusitis, streptococcus, pneumonia, diagnosis, antibiotic, nausea, commonly, sandpaper, exam


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Scarlet Fever
By Jennifer Kenny
  

1     Have you ever heard of scarlet fever? Years ago, it was a very serious childhood illness. Although a fancy alternative name is scarlatina, it is more commonly thought of as strep throat with a rash. Fortunately, it is much more treatable nowadays.
 
2     What causes scarlet fever? An infection with group A streptococcus bacteria does. In the case of scarlet fever, the bacteria produce a poison that causes a rash. It usually appears a day or two after the onset of the sickness. The rash is scarlet-colored so that is obviously how the illness gets its name.
 
3     Scarlet fever is most common in children under ten years old. The illness usually starts as a fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit and a sore throat. The patient might even have swollen glands, chills, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. The tongue often becomes red and swollen. Commonly, people say it looks like a strawberry tongue. Then there's a rash. It first looks like a bad sunburn on the neck and the face, but not around the mouth. The rash also has bumps that are sometimes itchy. Gradually, the rash spreads to the chest and the back. Then it goes to the rest of the body. The rash feels like sandpaper. That feeling helps in the diagnosis of scarlet fever. When someone pushes on the rash, the rash loses color or turns white. In skin creases, dark areas appear called Pastia's lines.

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