Scarlet fever mainly affects children under 10 years of age. Symptoms include fever, a rash, sore throat, flushed cheeks and a swollen tongue. The rash is typically most noticeable in the creases of the joints and over the stomach and can feel rough to touch like sandpaper. The tongue can develop a white coating which then peels leaving the tongue red and swollen, a typical appearance which is often described as ‘strawberry tongue’.
Scarlet fever is usually a mild infection without any complications. However, complications such as ear infection, throat abscess, and pneumonia can occur. Very rarely, more severe complications leading to kidney or heart damage can occur. Prompt treatment with antibiotics will prevent these complications.