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My Little Man Has Scarlet Fever

On Friday night JD told me his throat hurt. I took his temp and it was only 100, so I gave him Tylenol, read to him and tucked him in.

I was watching 20/20 in bed when I heard him cry out. “Mommy, I need you. My throat hurts me so bad,” he said. I whipped the covers off and ran to his room. His arms were extended up, signaling me to pick him up and tears were streaming down his face. I reached over the guardrail, hoisting him up. I instantly felt heat when I pressed his little body against mine. His hair was damp with sweat. I brought him into my room and plopped him on the bed—he collapsed into the fetal position. His cheeks were flushed and his temp was now 102.something. I gave him Motrin chewables at this point and a cup of watered-down fruit juice. He fell asleep, but I was up until 1 AM watching TV and reading—and worrying. His temp was down last time I checked, so I went to sleep. He woke up around 3 AM crying for juice and his fever resurfaced, so I medicated again.

In the morning I called our Ped (they have weekend and holiday hours). After telling the nurse JD was complaining of a sore throat, was congested and had a low-grade fever she advised me to push Motrin, liquids, ice pops and light food. If he wasn’t any better on Sunday morning I was told to bring him in.

JD woke up with a red rash from head-to-toe this morning, was complaining of a sore throat and had the same low-grade fever. The doctor diagnosed him with Scarlet Fever and let me tell you, my jaw dropped. Scarlet fever is a disease caused by infection with the group A Streptococcus bacteria (the main bacteria that causes strep throat).

I immediately thought Little Women. I instantly associated the doctor’s diagnosis with Beth. She brought a potato to her poor single mom neighbor and held her baby who was sick with Scarlet Fever. Beth then came down with the disease and almost DIED. She eventually recovered, rare, considering the book was set in the 1800’s and Scarlet Fever was considered a serious childhood disease back then. It’s 2012, so the Ped gave us a script for antibiotics—and found my Little Women ref highly entertaining. "Doc, I'm a writer!" I said. Before we left the nurse took JD’s temp again and it was back up—now 103. She gave him some medicine—and a tattoo. This cheered him up.

We drove straight to our pharmacy to fill the script. I had no one to watch JD so I had to take him with me—annoying (sometimes I just really want help). I was definitely worried about more germs attacking him in the big pharma store, but I had no other option. The pharmacist told me 10 minutes so we stocked up on tissues, soup and Lady and the Tramp. I told JD in the store that if he ate soup, took his medicine and napped we could have a movie date when he woke up. He agreed and he’s currently napping as I type this blog. There are sun spots on the couch and a cool  breeze coming in through the window. I keep checking on him. His little face is smushed against the pillow and he looks like a sleeping cherub. His tiny hand is holding the special piece of his blanket. I’m a wreck because even though JD got antibiotics, I’m still concerned with the diagnosis (ahem, Beth, Little Women) and my family is being dramatic and Italian.

My father’s reaction: Jesus! I told you to take him to the doctor yesterday. I’m putting a pot of soup on. I need turnips. His girlfriend immediately began googling and sharing scary tidbits with him that he then relayed to me. Great. (Note: The nurse told me NOT to come yesterday!!! Way to make me feel like crap.)

My mother’s reaction: I’m coming up tomorrow. She lives in South Jersey at the shore. This was actually comforting, because even though I don’t need to be in the office until Wednesday, it will be nice to have company and someone to watch JD if I need to run an errand.

Uncle Carlo’s reaction: Come’mon, Scarlet Fever? Are you going to the ER? Take him to the ER. I'll meet you there.

Uncle Brian’s reaction via text: Where the hell did he get Scarlet Fever??? It's not 1920. It must have started as Strep throat. Also, did you have it??? It’s highly communicable, Christine.

I texted back: Did I have Scarlet Fever? Is this a serious question? Are you drunk or hungover? Yes, Brian, I had Scarlet Fever last week and recovered (sarcasm). Maybe he got it at school, the library or the indoor playground (I’m never going to again).

My mom friend Amy: Who gets Scarlet Fever? WHAT!!!???

My mom friend Regan: Scarlet Fever is no joke. Keep an eye on him.

Gulp, guys. Sorry, but this a lot for me to handle alone (Alone in my head, more than anything else). Good news, it’s easily treatable with antibiotics and I already got one dose in. JD used to give me a lot of trouble with taking liquid meds. Last time he needed them, he refused and had to get shots (4 giant shots in his thighs! He takes meds on a spoon now). Bad news, I keep swallowing, asking myself, does my throat hurt? I took my temp four times already (I was just sick!). I googled: Scarlet Fever, Adult.

Wish us luck. We're hanging in. XO


If you think your child has Scarlet Fever go to the doctor ASAP. If your doc is not open, go to the ER. Symptons include:

Sore Throat

Sandpapery red rash



Muscle aches