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Scarlet Fever: It's Not Just for Little Women Anymore!

"Charlie has scarlet fever."

That was the word from the pediatrician this week, and for a moment there I panicked. Do we have to burn his toys -- like the Velveteen Rabbit? Is this…the end, like Beth in Little Women?

My wife just chuckled. She had asked the doctor the same questions. It turns out that scarlet fever is pretty common, and very treatable. But I found that I'm not the only one with dark misconceptions of this bug. When I mentioned the scarlet fever to folks around the office, about half - Parenting employees, mind you - went pale with grave concern. (By the way, Charlie's symptoms have completely passed. He was running around the bedroom and doing jumping jacks later that night.)

Scarlet fever needs a new name, I think. A brand identity that's not shaded by 19th Century literature. To save parents of sick kids a little stress, I sat down with a box of Crayolas and jotted down a few ideas: Cranberry Fever, Maroonism, Fire-engine-itis. Anyone else have a catchy idea?

Got a sicky? Check our Child Symptom Checker