Scarlet Fever and Strep Throat - Can adults get infected?

Scarlet Fever and Strep Throat - Can adults get infected?

Scarlet fever and strep throat are infectious diseases caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pyogenes. Although these diseases are commonly associated with children, adults can also become infected. Let's take a closer look at the characteristics of these diseases, who is most at risk, and how to protect yourself against them.

What is scarlet fever and strep throat?

Scarlet fever: An illness caused by the previously mentioned streptococcus bacterium. Typical initial symptoms include red spots on the skin, rash, especially on the face, fever, throat pain, often with a characteristic "strawberry" tongue.

Strep throat: An infection of the throat caused by the same bacterium. Symptoms include very intense throat pain, bad swallowing, redness, and a coating on the tonsils. Otherwise, the symptoms are similar to scarlet fever, and general fatigue may also occur.

Both of these diseases are caused by the same streptococcus bacterium, with an incubation period of around 5 days. While children, typically aged 3 to 15, are most affected, there is also a chance of transmission to adults. There is no vaccination against scarlet fever and each of us may experience it multiple times in our lives.

Who is most at risk?

Children are more frequently infected with scarlet fever and strep throat.In groups the disease can spread rapidly. Although adults are usually more resilient to infections, they can still be infected, especially those who are frequently in contact with sick children or have a weakened immune system.

Course and consequences of scarlet fever in adults

The course of scarlet fever and strep throat in adults can be similar to that in children but may have more complications. Untreated streptococcal infection can, in some cases, lead to rheumatic fever, kidney inflammation, nervous system issues, or heart problems. However, some adults may not show any symptoms or problems and may serve as carriers of the disease.

Preventive measures and treatment for scarlet fever

Strict hygiene practices, especially regular handwashing, can help reduce the risk of infection. strep throat spreads through respiratory droplets or on objects used by an infected person. On the other hand you can get infected by scarlet fever if the bacterium enters an open wound. Therefore, limiting close contact with the sick and their environment is crucial.

Scarlet fever is treated with antibiotics. This can reduce the risk of complications and, ultimately, the spread of the infection, as the infectious period for an untreated individual is up to 3 weeks. It is also essential to complete the entire treatment cycle, even if symptoms improve during the treatment.

Scarlet fever and strep throat are potentially serious diseases that can occur also in adults. If you suspect these diseases, it is best to seek medical help for diagnosis and proper treatment.