The Symptoms of Scarlatina or Scarlet Fever

The disease begins with fever, lassitude, and headache; pains in the back; flushed face; coated tongue, nausea, or vomiting; in children, convulsions. On the second day, eruption appears in the form of numerous minute dots of a bright scarlet color, which rapidly run together and soon cover the whole body. At the end of five to nine days, the fever subsides, and the skin begins to peel off.

This is an intensely contagious and infectious malady. Unfortunately, this fact has not been recognized until recently, and is not now as generally known as it should be.

The first symptoms generally make their appearance from four to seven days after exposure. In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, one which is very characteristic pertains to the tongue, which presents what is termed a "strawberry appearance" after the white coating has begun to disappear, occasioned by the enlargement of the papillae, causing them to project through the white coating.

The edges and tip of the tongue are usually red in all but mild cases of the disease. The throat is more or less affected with inflammation, sometimes at the beginning of the disease, at other times soon afterward. In severe cases, inflammation of the throat is the most serious symptom of the disease. The glands under the jaw become swollen and painful, and thick, tenacious mucus clogs the throat and larynx. The inflammation may often extend into the nose. Occasionally the inflamed glands suppurate. In some instances, the inflammation is so intense that it is rapidly fatal, when it is said to be malignant.

Various complications are apt to occur in this disease, among the most common and serious of which are inflammation of the ears, meningitis, pleurisy, inflammation of the bowels, inflammation of the joints, and acute inflammation of the kidneys, giving rise to dropsy, which is one of the most fatal of all the infectious diseases in very young children. The mortality frequently reaches three-fourths of all who are attacked. The chances of life increase with the age of the patient.