Strep Rash – What is Strep Rash in Kids?


If you have kids that are prone to sore throats you will probably know what Strep Throat is but do you know what Strep Rash is? You do not hear the term Strep Rash in kids very often but the more commonly used term you have probably heard is Scarlet Fever. Strep Rash (or Scarlet Fever) is actually a very common ‘side effect’ of Strep Throat that is sometimes mistaken for other illnesses. So let’s talk about Strep Rash and what you can do to determine if your child has it and what you can do to help relieve the symptoms.

First off, you will notice the common word “Strep” in Strep Throat and Strep Rash. That’s because both are directly related to the Streptococcus Bacterium which is often found in the throat and on the skin of affected children. Strep bacteria can cause many infections in kids from  sore throats to skin infections and sometimes very serious diseases. When we talk about Strep Rash, this is actually the skin rash that can develop in those with Strep Throat and the symptoms that accompany the rash can be very uncomfortable to young children.

Strep Rash In Kids

Strep Rash in kids can accompany Strep Throat, Fever and many other symptoms.

SYMPTOMS OF STREP RASH

Strep Rash (ie. Scarlet Fever or Scarlatina) can very often be mistaken for other similar skin related illnesses such as Chickenpox, Measles and even Psoriasis. It most often starts within 48 hours after the symptoms of Strep Throat appear and it will take the appearance of a red rash which develops on your child’s face or torso.  Over the next day or so after symptoms appear, the rash will quickly spread to other areas of the body including the hands, neck, arms and legs.

The rash itself is reddish in color, similar to sunburn, and can consist of many small red pimples over the affected areas. For children, the areas where the skin flexes and folds (i.e. arm pits, elbows, neck area, etc) can become the most irritated as movement in those spots tends to create the most pain and itchyness. Peeling of the skin, again much like sunburn, is also something that can occur during the final stages of the illness. Strep Rash can also include other symptoms such as head aches, fever, red lines on the skin, bumpy tongue and itchy skin and can be very uncomfortable to children, as most skin conditions are.

Not all children who develop Strep Throat will come down with Strep Rash. But, because they both originate from the streptococcus bacterium, parents need to keep an eye out for any skin rash that occurs during the illness. We’ve included some pictures below of Strep Rash and as you’ll notice it is easy to see how it could be mistaken for other illnesses.

STREP RASH PICTURES

Strep Rash

Strep Rash on Skin

STREP RASH TREATMENT

The good news is that with proper treatment Strep Rash or Scarlet Fever is totally curable and will resolve itself over time. Some children with milder cases of Strep will only require a few days begin feeling better while other more serious cases may take upwards of a few weeks to totally get over the infection.

In order to best treat Strep Rash it is highly recommended that children are treated as quickly as possible by their Pediatrician. Once diagnosed, most doctors will immediately prescribe an antibiotic specifically for treating bacterial infections like Strep. Within the first one to two doses of the antibiotic, most children will begin to feel much better with continuing improvement over the next few days.

Treating the symptoms of the rash is mainly done via over the counter medicines and lotions. To help relieve the itchy skin issues most doctors will recommend an allergy product such as Benadryl which is very effective in masking some of the side effects from the irritated and itchy skin.  In addition, bathing with Aveeno Skin Relief Bath Treatments and using Aveeno skin lotions is highly recommended to relieve the itch associated with the rash.

As with any illness, parents should keep a close eye on children diagnosed with Strep Throat, Strep Rash, Scarlett Fever, etc as the severity of symptoms can change at a moments notice. If the rash starts to become more severe or a high fever develops, do not hesitate to take your child to the hospital or a Ready Care facility for immediate assistance.

For more information on Streptococcal related infections visit the National Institute of Health’s site here.

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