Doctor Betti
Dr. Betti Hertzberg Ressler is a Board Certified Pediatrician on staff at Miami Children's Hospital. Dr. Hertzberg developed the toilet training video "Let's Go Potty." She is the co-author of "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Children."

Scarlet Fever

Question: I have a friend with a 7-year-old daughter who developed a rash and high fever a week ago. After a few days, the rash and fever disappeared and she is now back in school. Her principal's daughter developed the exact same symptoms and was taken to the doctor. She has scarlet fever and is on antibiotics. My question is: my friend doesn't have a family doctor. Can her daughter still have scarlet fever, even without symptoms (except cold symptoms). Will it go away without antibiotic treatment? What about developing into rheumatic fever? Any help will be appreciated. Missy

Answer: The combination of Strep throat and the rash associated with it is called Scarlet Fever. The treatment is antibiotics (usually Penicillin or similar antibiotic if the child is Penicillin allergic).

It is quite possible that the child did have Scarlet Fever, however, the immune system has a wonderful capacity for containing the illness. In other words, antibodies where produced in response to the bacteria, almost like treating itself. This does not mean that we should ignore symptoms and hope that the body takes care of it.

Rheumatic Fever can occur when a Strep/Scarlet Fever is not treated. Although symptoms may disappear, it may affect certain organs such as the heart, it's valves and blood vessels. The results of untreated infection may not appear until much later in life.

It would be in the best interest to encourage a visit a physician for your friends daughter, even if all her symptoms are gone. A quick test for Strep can be performed in the office.

Rheumatic Fever is not as common today as it was years ago. This is because of earlier treatment.

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  • Ask Dr. Betti your questions

    This information is not intended to be a substitute for visiting your pediatrician. If you or your child has specific concerns, you should see your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment.