Scarlet Fever

scarlet fever

There is a Greek word “streptos”, which means torsion twisted, having the form of a chain. And there is such a microbe Streptococcus – if looking at it under a microscope, it is well visible are the real chains of fixed balls. Streptococci – a very common bacteria that can cause a person a lot of variety of diseases. Scarlet fever – one of them, perhaps the most famous, but, unfortunately, not unique.

Since ancient times known to people scarlet fever and the attitude towards it is quite serious, which, however, is quite logical and justified. Although the ancient physicians (Hippocrates and the company) all the time confused scarlet fever – the measles, rubella then, something else with anything. However, worse was that no one – it is because we are now smart – know that measles and rubella virus infection, and scarlet fever – a bacterial infection. Consequently, measles and rubella will be themselves, and in scarlet fever really help antibiotics. But Hippocrates about Antibiotics do not know anything, so he had the moral right to be confused scarlet fever and measles, what, however, mankind has successfully engaged for almost 2 000 years after Hippocrates. And only in 1675 a doctor by Sidenham names described the symptoms of scarlet fever, and called it the “scarlet fever” – purple fever. From the word “scarlet” – “purple”, “bright red” – and went the modern name of the disease.

The fact that the scarlet fever is a serious illness and deadly, the readers of this book, especially those who studied in the Soviet school, learned as a child from the famous poem by Edward Bagritsky “Death pioneers.” From scarlet fever died poor pioneer Valya and it is so very tragic, fate seemed sick child to the advent of antibiotics – a very insidious and very dangerous microbe, the streptococcus.

It should be noted that the scarlet fever – is not the only disease owes its existence to streptococcus. Most sore throats, rheumatic fever, glomerulonephritis, erysipelas – all variants of streptococcal infection.

But scarlet fever a disease peculiar. And forgive me for trying to explain to readers of its essence, as do it in simple words is very difficult. But we try. So…

Streptococcus – a loose concept. This word implies tens, if not hundreds, of bacteria, on the one hand, similar to each other, on the other – have significant differences in their structure. Each specific type of Streptococcus capable of producing quite certain toxins. Perebolev one embodiment streptococcus and develop immunity to this embodiment, one can not completely safely to meet with another streptococcus, which, in turn, releases its toxins and is once again the need to hurt and develop next antitoxic antibodies again.

At the same time, some streptococci (I emphasize, not all, but some) inherent ability to produce a certain toxic substance called eritrotoksin.

There are two features eritrotoksina. First, it causes the body completely definite changes, and these changes are manifested in the form of quite specific symptoms inherent in it eritrotoksina action; Secondly, having developed immunity to one eritrotoksinu streptococcus organism ceases to respond to any other Streptococcus eritrotoksin as blood constantly circulating antibodies eritrotoksinu.

Now we can say what is scarlet fever. Scarlet fever – is a special variant of streptococcal infection with severe reactions of the organism in response to eritrotoksina. Thus, scarlet fever can be a once in a lifetime, but a streptococcal infection – its other forms, of course, can hurt as much as necessary.

The term “eritrotoksin” in a literal translation from the Greek, meaning “red toxin”. This translation – are already mentioned by us, “absolutely certain symptoms.”

But let’s start from the beginning, how everything happens. Streptococcus ingested airborne, although it is possible and infection through food, and through a dirty toys, and through clothes. The source of infection may be sick any variant of a streptococcal infection or a healthy carrier of streptococcus. 90% of all people who are ill – children up to 16 years, but the children of the first year almost do not get sick, because they have an innate, inherited from his mother antitoxic immunity.

The incubation period is from 1 to 12 days. Once in the human organism, Streptococcus deposited on mucous membranes, especially in the throat (tonsils) and begins to multiply, while stressing the eritrotoksin. The disease begins acutely – fever + sore throat. And a few hours later a rash appears – this is a response to eritrotoksin. Overall color – red, and that red background can be seen the numerous, very small red dots (redder than the general background). Rash quickly covers the entire body, it is especially pronounced on the lateral surface of the trunk, flexion portions on hands and feet. The skin is dry, if you hold your hand, reminiscent of sandpaper. Especially characteristic of the face – a bright red cheeks and pale, free from rashes triangle between the nose and lips. Language is also a bright, raspberry, and on the surface of the sharp increase nipples. Well, in the throat, on the tonsils – a real sore throat – all very red and inflamed, pus on the tonsils raids.

All these symptoms of a child shall eritrotoksinu streptococcus, which specifically affects the skin and mucous membranes. This failure results in massive loss of cells of the outermost layer of skin – the epidermis – and the skin begins to peel off. Peeling appears on the face by the end of the 1st week of illness, and then on the torso, hands and feet.

What you should know:

1. Streptococcus, fortunately, is highly sensitive to antibiotics, including penicillin. Within 12-24 hours after initiation of treatment with penicillin in a state of a sick child there is a clear improvement. The intolerance of penicillin is not a problem, since the choice of antibiotics that are active on streptococci, is large enough.

2. In any event, scarlet fever refers to diseases that with timely treatment with antibiotics almost always end happily, and without treatment – almost always end with severe complications. The complications of scarlet fever – primarily heart disease (rheumatism) and kidney damage (glomerulonephritis).

3. It is very dangerous to stop treatment immediately after the improvement. Antibiotics should be used strictly specified time, otherwise the complications are very likely.

4. Timely use of active antibiotics sometimes (very rarely) lead to the fact that the body does not have time to develop sufficient immunity to eritrotoksinu – quickly killed streptococcus. The implication of this – the ability to re sick with scarlet fever. These repeated cases, however, flow fairly easily.

5. The throat and tonsils – not the only way of penetration of streptococci in the human body. Infection can occur through any wound on the skin (abrasions, cuts, surgery). In such a case will occur scarlet fever symptoms except angina. The principles of treatment does not change.

6. Lightweight and sometimes and moderate forms of scarlet fever safely treated at home, without any hospital. The child, as a rule, completely isolated for 10 days, after which – if the condition is good – it is quite possible to walk. But!!! For had undergone scarlet fever, a serious danger is repeated contact with strep – it can lead to allergic diseases and complications. Therefore, to live normally and you can walk, but communication with other people, especially children, should be kept to a minimum. At least from the time of onset of the disease up to a hike in school or kindergarten must pass 3 weeks, no less.


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