This is how long scarlet fever usually lasts


Scarlet fever is one of the typical diseases of childhood. Their duration always depends on various individual factors. It also plays a decisive role whether and with which antibiotics the disease is treated.

Duration of illness

The entire illness lasts about 7 to 10 days and is divided into three stages, whereby the person himself does not notice anything of the illness in the first stage.

  • This phase lasts approx. 4,
  • the incubation stage approx. 2 and
  • the erythema stage for another 5 days.

Of course, as in all cases of illness, the duration of the illness depends heavily on individual factors that can ensure that the scarlet fever is overcome more quickly or more slowly.

Duration of the incubation period

The incubation period is the first phase of any disease. During this period, the person does not even notice the disease and the body's own immune system is not yet busy fighting the pathogens.
Rather, the pathogens can multiply almost undisturbed in this phase until they have reached a critical, really disease-causing amount.

In the literature, the incubation period for scarlet fever is given as 2 to 4 or 3 to 5 days.
The incubation time depends on the initial load of the pathogens, i.e. how many pathogens attack the body at the beginning and then of course on the generation time of the bacteria, i.e. the time they need to multiply.

Also read our main article on the topic: Scarlet fever - you should know that!

How long do the symptoms of scarlet fever last?

The symptoms of scarlet fever appear at slightly delayed intervals. The actual onset of the illness is characterized by an acute attack of fever, chills and an increased heart rate.
Shortly afterwards, a sore throat with an inflamed throat and lymph node swelling of the cervical lymph nodes occur. The typical symptoms such as the raspberry-red tongue usually appear on the following day.

The typical reddening of the face, the so-called exanthema stage, usually occurs 48 hours after the onset of the fever.
This reddening then spreads over the entire body and then begins to fade again after 3 to 4 days. However, periods of up to a week for the redness to subside are still normal.
Defevering usually also occurs after about a week.

You can also find out more at: Symptoms of Scarlet Fever

Duration of scarlet fever treatment

The duration of the treatment usually corresponds to the antibiotic intake time, as late complications rarely occur. However, if these are also included in the duration of treatment, the treatment can last up to several months in total.

As a rule, however, the treatment is over after the end of the antibiotic administration, i.e. after 10 days at the latest.

You can also find out more at: What to do with scarlet fever

How long do you have to take antibiotics?

Antibiotic intake should last at least seven days, according to the recommendation of the German Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases.
In various pediatric specialist books, a therapy duration of 10 days is recommended.

As a rule, the pediatrician will want to check the success of the antibiotic therapy after 7 days. Discontinuing the medication is only indicated if there are no more symptoms of the disease, i.e. neither fever, nor facial redness, nor sore throat or sore throat.

When do complications occur?

The time it takes for complications to occur varies and depends on the complications that arise. Most of the time, however, scarlet fever is completely free of complications.

  • It takes about three weeks for so-called acute rheumatic fever to appear.
  • Acute streptococcal glomerulonephritis occurs between one and five weeks after the actual scarlet fever.
  • Post-streptococcal arthritis, on the other hand, usually begins earlier. Usually this complication occurs 3 to 10 days after the underlying disease.
  • The beginning of the "chorea minor" is elusive. The first symptoms, such as increasing clumsiness, appear after several weeks to months.

You can also find detailed information on this under: These complications can occur with scarlet fever

How long are you on sick leave?

As a rule, the sick leave should be based on the time of antibiotic intake and can also last longer. Since scarlet fever is a communicable infectious disease, sick people should not unnecessarily socialize, but rather take care of the house.

Since the infection should also have disappeared with the conclusion of the antibiotic therapy, theoretically you can work again afterwards. However, if the person is not yet fully recovered, it is advisable to extend the sick leave a little more to give the person time to fully recover.

When can my child go back to daycare / kindergarten / school?

Children should only return to kindergarten or daycare when all symptoms of the disease have subsided. This includes both the body erythema and the fever. As a rule, the child can attend kindergarten again after about a week.

If the parents decide against antibiotic treatment for whatever reason, it can take up to three weeks for the symptoms to subside.

When can you do sports again?

This depends on the physical condition the patient is in after the symptoms have subsided.

From a medical point of view, it is advisable to give your body a few days off after recovering from illness. In case of doubt, however, you should only do light sports that do not place extreme demands on the body.

It is not known whether there is a direct correlation between the occurrence of late complications and early resumption of physical activity.
As a rule, however, the body reports back to the person doing sport - whether it already feels ready for sport or would prefer to take a break - provided that the body is not outwitted by taking fever-reducing or pain-relieving substances.

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