There was a time when the mere mention of scarlet fever could send shivers down one’s spine. Yes, scarlet fever was one of the deadliest diseases of the olden days; however, today the ailment is curable and can be treated using both medications and natural remedies. Scarlet fever is highly contagious and very generally affects children aged three to fifteen. Read on to know more about scarlet fever and the simple yet effective home remedies that would help you curb the infection:
What Is Scarlet Fever?
Once considered to be an incurable and fatal disease among children, scarlet fever is now perfectly curable with some antibiotics thanks to the developments in medical science. Scarlet fever or Scarlatina an infection caused by the A streptococcus bacteria that usually affects people who have a strep throat. A series of deep red rashes followed by high fever and a sore throat are some of the common symptoms of scarlet fever. Scarlet fever mainly affects children aged between 5 to 15 years and can become quite serious if left unchecked for long.
Scarlet Fever Symptoms
Scarlet fever is an infection that can turn to a pretty serious ailment if not detected on time. However, the disease is no longer incurable or deadly as deemed in the yester years. Scarlet fever in babies is a common occurrence; it can also affect adults who are suffering from strep throat. There are loads of signs and symptoms that indicate scarlet fever among people. These symptoms usually appear about 1-4 days after the infection. Some of these signs are mentioned below:
- A sore throat sometimes with white and yellowish patches, followed by high fever (101-degree F with chills)
- Rashes over the body that appear 12 to 48 hours after the fever
- The red blotches on the skin look like sun burns and feels rough like sandpaper
- The rashes start from the face and move on to the ears, neck, elbows, inner thighs, chest and genitals and turns white if glass is pressed on the area
- The mouth turns pale while the cheeks flush up to a pink tinge
- Overall weakness, nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhoea, inflammation and itching are other common symptoms of scarlet fever.
- The skin of the area starts peeling off for about 6 weeks after the fever has been cured.
Scarlet Fever Causes
Scarlet fever is an infection caused by a bacterium S pyogenic, or group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus. The same bacteria are responsible for strep throat. These bacteria release some toxins into the blood that cause these aforementioned symptoms of scarlet fever. Some individuals can carry and pass on the bacteria without being affected by it; only people susceptible to the toxins can catch the disease.
Is Scarlet Fever Contagious?
Scarlet fever is a communicable disease that spreads through the body fluids of the mouth and nose. The airborne bacteria can reach other people who breathe in the same air thereby spreading the infection. Even touching a person infected by the A streptococcus bacteria can spread the disease. Exchanging towels, touching things of the patient, or consuming contaminated food can also cause scarlet fever.
How Long Does Scarlet Fever Last?
Scarlet fever is easily identifiable by its rashes and sore throat; the doctor can diagnose the disease also by looking at your blood test reports and conducting some other tests. For instance, examining a throat swab or sample of the phlegm can help determine the exact bacteria. Generally, a mild case of scarlet fever stays for over a week and is cured without much treatment. However, if the symptoms persist an antibiotic such as penicillin usually cures the disease in 9-10 days. The fever continues for another 12-24 hours and the antibiotics kick into the system in 4-5 days. Note that the patient has to complete the entire course of the prescribed antibiotic for a full recovery.
Effective Home Remedies For Scarlet Fever
Now, scarlet fever is usually curable by a dose of antibiotics such as penicillin or erythromycin. However, there are a few home remedies that you can use if you want to save the cost of going to the doctor. These natural remedies are also effective for people who are allergic to antibiotics or have a mild care of scarlet fever. Discussed below are 10 such simple home remedies for getting rid of scarlet fever:
1. Fresh Garlic
Garlic is a popular ingredient known for its special taste and aroma. However, this natural herb also has some amazing medicinal properties. Add honey to a few chopped and peeled garlic cloves. Chew the pieces for few minutes before swallowing. Garlic is known for curing several skin disorders in Ayurveda and also reduces swelling and itching caused by scarlet fever. Even honey is a natural soothing agent and can reduce the pain in your throat. Consuming garlic and honey also enhances the immunity system of your body keeping other infections at bay.
2. Honey and Ginger
Ginger is a natural herb that has many antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Boil some washed and grated ginger in a pot of warm water and let it steep for 10 minutes. Next, add two teaspoons of honey to the mixture and drink it twice a day for a week for best results. Ginger is a classic household solution for a sore throat and also has certain anti-viral properties for fighting the virus growth in the body. Honey, on the other hand, soothes the rashes and also reduces swelling and pain. Note that people with peptic ulcer cannot use this remedy as ginger causes stomach irritation.
3. Milk and Turmeric
Milk and turmeric powder, however unpleasant in taste, has been a classic home remedy cocktail for almost every medical ailment. The mixture works wonders in boosting the body’s immunity and fighting the bacteria that causes the fever. Add 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder in a glass of boiled cow’s milk. Also add a teaspoon of honey for taste. Drink the concoction daily, once in the morning and once at night. Turmeric is a great antiseptic that also has some antimicrobial properties for fighting scarlet fever in adults. Turmeric also has compounds such as curcumin (diferuloylmethane), dimethoxy-curcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin that hasten the healing process. Even milk is rich in vitamins and minerals strengthening the body and helping it recover.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an ingredient that has many anti-inflammatory properties for reducing the swelling and itchiness on the skin. The mixture also is rich in Vitamin C and increases the immunity of the body. Add a teaspoon of unadulterated apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water. Add some honey to the concoction and drink it twice a day for a couple of weeks. ACV is a great medicinal ingredient for scarlet fever rash treatment. You can even apply pure ACV onto the affected areas to reduce swelling and itchiness. Note that ACV though not dangerous when consumed can cause minor irritation when applied on the skin.
5. Aloe Vera and Turmeric
Both aloe vera and turmeric are common ingredients for preparing natural cures for several medical ailments. Take some aloe vera leaves and clean out the sharp sides, remove the skin and scrape out the greenish gel inside. Mix a teaspoon of turmeric powder or crushed turmeric to the mixture and apply it on the affected areas. Let it stay for a couple of hours before rinsing thoroughly. Aloe vera is a great antioxidant that will rinse out the toxins released by the bacteria, while turmeric has healing properties for reducing swelling and discomfort.
6. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is something that can be used in almost every natural medicine. Mix 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a glass of warm water. Drink this for a few weeks. You can even apply some virgin coconut oil on the rashes and inflamed area and rinse it later with lukewarm water. Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids and is excellent for the skin. It even contains chemicals such as Medium Chain Triglycerides and Lauric acid that releases monolaurin. Monolaurin can destroy bacteria like Staphylococcus and Candida and quickens the healing process considerably.
7. Mint Tea
Mint tea is known for its cooling properties and can cause some relief against the severe rashes and discomfort of scarlet fever. Boil some mint leaves and leave them aside. Then boil a cup of water and steep the washed leaves for about 10 minutes. Strain the mixture and add a bit of honey to it for taste. Drink the mint tea regularly for about a week to 10 days for best results. Mint is known for flushing out the toxins released by the bacteria and also keeping the body fresh and energized. The aromatic mint tea includes a compound rosmarinic acid that is responsible for treating the basic fever effects of the disease.
8. Basil, Honey, and Ginger Extracts
Basil, honey, and ginger are common ingredients found in almost every kitchen. These not only enhance the taste of your food but also have many medicinal properties. Crush a bunch of basil leaves and extract the juice. Then wash and peel a piece of ginger and crush it as well. Mix it in a glass of lukewarm water and add a tablespoon of honey. Drink the mixture for a couple of weeks. The basil leaves are rich in Vitamin A and minerals that boost your body’s immunity. Ginger is known for its anti-bacterial properties, while honey is a natural antiseptic agent.
9. Lavender and Other Essential Oils
Lavender oil is known for its aromatic properties and is used for relieving pain in aromatherapy. Take some lukewarm water in a wide-mouthed vessel and pour a few drops of lavender oil in it. Inhale this mixture while covering your head with a thin cotton sheet. This way you can take in the concentrated mixture without wasting the vapor. Continue the process twice a day for best results. You can even mix lavender oil and water proportionately and apply the mixture in the affected area. Inhaling the steam relieves the pain in a sore throat while the applying the mixture reduces redness and itching.
10. Oatmeal and Baking Soda Soak
Oatmeal and baking soda are known for reducing the itchiness and inflammation on the skin giving the patient some respite from his suffering. For this, you need to add two cups of oatmeal in your bathing tub then sprinkle two tablespoons of baking soda. Soak your body in the tub for about 30 minutes to an hour, rinse thoroughly and repeat the process for three or four days. Baking soda has anti-bacterial properties that can cause relief against the red rashes and swelling. Oatmeal and baking soda together have no side-effects on the skin and can be used for extended time periods.