Doctors sound caution over spread of scarlet fever among children in Hyderabad

Onset of scarlet fever is marked by throat pain and a high-grade fever, followed by a distinctive rash and a ‘strawberry tongue’; delayed treatment may lead to potentially dangerous complications

March 20, 2024 08:04 pm | Updated 08:04 pm IST - HYDERABAD

In recent weeks, there has been a surge in scarlet fever cases among children in Hyderabad. This illness predominantly targets children aged between five and fifteen years old. Doctors strongly recommend that parents seek immediate medical attention upon observing any symptoms, rather than attempting to self-medicate their children.

The onset of scarlet fever is marked by severe throat pain accompanied by a high-grade fever. Subsequently, a distinctive rash resembling sandpaper emerges, initially appearing on the hands and feet before spreading across the body, including the abdomen, body, and face. Additionally, affected children may exhibit a ‘strawberry tongue’ characterised by small red spots on the tongue.

Dr. Saketa Reddy, a prominent general physician in Hyderabad, highlighted the critical importance of seeking professional medical attention at the earliest signs of symptoms. Immediate treatment with antibiotics is paramount, as untreated cases can lead to severe complications such as heart issues and renal failure. Dr. Reddy underscores the necessity for parents to be vigilant, urging them to promptly consult a healthcare professional upon noticing any indicative symptoms. With proper medical intervention, the duration of fever and associated symptoms typically spans around ten days, with noticeable improvement within the first few days of treatment.

Meanwhile, government-run facilities such as the Fever Hospital and Niloufer Hospital report no significant increase in patient numbers. Dr. Shanker, superintendent of the Fever Hospital, said that their outpatient services remain within typical ranges of 300-400 outpatient visits every day.

Treatment for scarlet fever primarily involves the administration of antibiotics such as penicillin, macrolides, and azithromycin over a course of one week. Dr. Anish Anand, internal medicine consultant at Apollo Hospital, stressed the importance of timely intervention, as delayed treatment may lead to potentially dangerous complications.

Moreover, Dr. Sivaranjani Santosh, Chief Paediatrician at Magna Centre, highlights the resemblance between scarlet fever and Kawasaki disease, a rare but serious condition. Both illnesses share similar symptoms, including the distinctive ‘strawberry tongue’ and rash. Dr. Santosh urges parents to seek medical attention promptly, especially if initial antibiotic treatment fails to alleviate symptoms, as untreated Kawasaki disease can lead to life-threatening complications such as arterial aneurysms.

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