Strep throat!!! We all know its symptoms pretty well. These can include headache, stomachache, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes (to name a few.) Over the past few months, it has been noted that cases of "Invasive Strep" are increasing at a rapid rate in Europe and the US. The strains of strep infection that cause scarlet fever are becoming increasingly prevalent.
The age group that this is most dangerous in babies under age 1, as the infection can spread to the bloodstream and cause a lot of damage. Children under ten are the other age group that is most affected.
What is Scarlet Fever?
Scarlet fever is a term for the rash that develops in patients with strep throat. This rash is caused by a toxin produce by the strep bacteria. The rash can look different in different kids, so it is very important to have "odd" rashes looked at by your medical provider. The strain of strep that causes Scarlet Fever has also been correlated with PANS/PANDAS.
What can we do?
The most important thing is to get your child in to be seen if they are showing symptoms of strep throat. We will do a rapid strep test in the office, and many times will send the throat swab off for a culture to make sure that our rapid results are accurate. If your child is put on antibiotics for strep infection, PLEASE make sure that they take their medication as prescribed, and that they finish the entire course of medication. With these "invasive" strains of strep, sometimes the child will need a penicillin injection in addition to oral antibiotics.
If left untreated, strep bacteria can invade the bloodstream and cause toxic shock syndrome, meningitis or brain abscess, joint infections. Local complications include tonsil abscess, ear infections, sinus infections, and skin infections.
If you think your child (or yourself) needs to be seen, please give our nurse line a call! We have same-day appointments available so you can avoid going to urgent care. If the symptoms pop up over the weekend, I don't recommend waiting until Monday to be seen-go to Urgent Care over the weekend.
All of this may sound pretty scary, but with antibiotic treatment, the infection will completely resolve without complications
Sarah Lee, ARNP