Mrs Lifecruiser 10 years old

I’m not talking about the other Scarlett here, who was “Gone with the wind” even though I was gone in some sense. No, this is about another kind of Scarlet Fever that striked me in the autumn 1968 when I was 9 years old.

At first it looked like an ordinary cold, but as soon as the red rash came on my chest we knew instantly that I’ve got it from a girl I had played with. Some parents weren’t so orderly, so they let out their sick children to play, which started an epidemic of Scarlet fever.

Some strains of group A streptococci cause severe infection and may lead to shock, multisystem organ failure, and death. Scarlet fever is one of those. Early recognition and treatment with antibiotics are critical. Before the antibiotics it had a mortality of 30%.

The effects of the disease were considerable, a throat infection could spread and become a bad abscess, ear inflammation or meningitis without treatment. Afterwards you could get rheumatic fever, kidney inflammation and heart muscle inflammation.

When I got it in 1968, it was not as feared as it was earlier, beacause they had begin to treat it with antibiotics. I was just in the last group that were sent to hospital to deal with it (unluck for me!), after that you were allowed to stay at home to cure it. Very often you have to treat the whole family anyway.

There were no children pedagogy used there. They were quite terrifying in their manner. My Mom didn’t want to leave me there, but had no choice. There were many children crowded there since it were an epidemic hospital and we were all kind of left on our own, which created a little bit too wild environment for my taste.

I was there for a long time, no one remember exactly how long. A couple of months probably. My family came to visit me, except from my brother. He was under age 15 and wasn’t allowed to come. Very strange restrictions indeed.

When you had a visit and they brought you candy, you didn’t get the candy from them, you got it afterwards. That was probably one thing they did right, because they took a bit of the candy from us that did get visitors and gave it to the kids that didn’t. At least we hoped that it was the case, since it disappeared a lot of candy before we got it!

The only treatment I got were antibiotics. I also remember that they did take blood samples from me very often. I got so used to it that I still prefer when they take it from my arm and not from the fingers.

I didn’t seem to get well there. I’m not surprised. I didn’t like the crodwy and loud environment, the way they speaked (not!) to me and above all: I didn’t like the food and especially the dinner time. No nurses had time to spend with us, we should eat on our own, the food was not warm enough and it was very often fish or something else I didn’t like.

I was used to my Moms excellent cooking and getting warm meals and loving care too. Besides that, we all know that sick children don’t have the best appetite and could need some coaxing…

The most important thing: no one controlled if we really did eat or not. Which I hardly didn’t, but what did they do? They gave me vitamin pills! Did they help? Not much. Which made me way to skinny. I remember my weight: 24 kg (52 pound) and I was rather tall already at that age.

My siblings were teasing me when I finally came back home again, they called me names like “The Biafra child” (starving population in Nigeria) because I was so skinny. Like a skeleton they thought.

What a difference from the childrens hospital of today! Like night and day difference!

That hospital care have been with me for many years after that, because I was there just before the time I started to grow tall so fast and my body never got the chance to build up some fat, so it wasn’t until I was over 30 that I got more normal skinny.

I do have problems right now to maintan and gain weight and that’s no picnic I tell you. It may sounds heavenly in dieting peoples ears, but it really is hard work just as it is to keep a diet - just the opposite! You get so tired of it.

I didn’t know that Scarlet fever can be spread to animals, but I just read in one of our newspapers, that the Gorilla baby Enzo in KolmÃ¥rdens Zoo has been fighting a virusinfektion and Scarlet fever for a month now.

Other from that, I haven’t heard anything about Scarlet fever for many years now.

I have no idea how common it is nowadays. Do you?

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12 Comments on “Memories of Scarlet Fever”

    Kasia POLAND said:

    No, I have no idea. I believe there are some obligatory injections every children get. But I am not sure.
    It sounds really bad, this illness. But..the picture of you is really great. That is how I always imagine Swedish children:) blonde, blue eyed angels. :)

    Lifecruiser: Now i have to try to look that up somewhere - and that’s your fault *lol*.

    Well, that’s why I’m no angel then, because my eyes are green and sometimes more gray ;-)

    Chana CANADA said:

    :-): my goodness you have always been so beautiful. what a lovely picture of you.
    what an ordeal you went through. i’m glad it didn’t take your life and you were able to recuperate, eventually. that is a long time time to be amongst strangers really, alone in such a setting. poor girls and boys. you were so light. i can understand how hard it is for you if it’s not easy to gain weight. i don’t have that problem for me it’s the other way. wouldn’t it be wonderful to trade a bit? glad you are with us, happy and all wonderful. thank you for sharing with us your memory.

    Lifecruiser: Oh, don’t say such nice things, you make me blush :-) Yes, I’ve many times thought of the wonderful idea to be able to trade pounds, how comfortable it would be!!!! *sigh*


    Wow, it sounds horrible to be sick and away from from family for so long. I was such a Daddy’s Girl that it would have killed me! Did you have any side effects from having scarlet fever? I have heard that it can cause heart problems.

    Lifecruiser: Yes, it really was. I was most Mom’s girl. Other from the weight problem, there aren’t any confirmed side effects, though I’ve always hade ache in my joints ever after that. No heart failure, luckily enough :-)

    Brony CANADA said:

    That was very nicely written.
    Great post.

    Lifecruiser: Thank you Brony :-)

    Janene UNITED STATES said:

    I can only imagine how awful it must have been for you and your family to go through that…it would break my heart to have to leave my son in the hospital.

    I’m so glad it all worked out and you made it through :-)

    It is a beautiful picture ~ thanks for stopping by!

    Lifecruiser: Yes and I’m so glad that things have changed since then, the hospitals I mean. Much nicer to both the kids and the parents nowadays.

    Norma UNITED STATES said:

    I had Scarlet Fever when I was 8, but experienced none of this. There were no antibiotics then, and I only remember bedrest and being isolated in our home. The doctor came to our house.

    This is quite a memory!

    My MM is up.

    Lifecruiser: Maybe it was different if you lived in a big city or not? I lived in STockholm all my life, the capital.


    Great story for sharing. Not the best memories but still something from long ago. My cousin (the one I went on the camping trip with) was very sick in her high school years and spent a whole year out. She was in the hospital for about 2 months then home in bed forever! At least it seem that way to me! She had tutors so she wouldn’t fall behind in school and some physical therepy too. She was pretty sick with it! I do worry when the sore throat season starts because if care isn’t taken it can lead to more compliations! And to day just like in your story, people don’t keep kids home long enough to heal!

    Thanks for stopping by today and for your kind words. I am sorry you have had such a bad time with migraines. I have them now and then but know what causes mine so I am very very careful most of the time!

    I hope your sweetie gets to feeling better soon, and you too! Have a wonderful week!

    Lifecruiser: Yes, it felt like it took for ages for me too. It’s a long time when you’re a kid! Thanks for the well sishes, we got some pain killers going…

    Ma UNITED STATES said:

    Oh my! That must have been quite scary and to be isolated from your family is worse. sorry you had to go through that.

    I’m up too.

    Lifecruiser: Yes, it sure was not the best of times…


    Thank goodness you got through your ordeal OK. I remember when I was about 4 years old being in hospital with pneumonia for a period of time. My biggest memory of that time was sitting by the window on my own watching for visitors. It was so lonely, but everyone came with gifts, which helped. I suppose as a child it’s hard to understand what’s going on. Thanks for an interesting post.

    Lifecruiser: Yes, as a child you accept the situation at that time, but end up analyzing it when you grow up :-)


    What a cute little girl you were!

    I think my sister had scarlet fever when she was 3 or 4. I need to check with my Dad because my Mum is now gone. She is 3 years younger than me. I think you and I are the same age. 1959?

    Interesting read.

    Lifecruiser: Yes, I’m a ‘59, the very best year of production ;-)

    Regina UNITED STATES said:

    My daughter also had scarlet fever. Abbey was only 2 when she developed it and she faught it for over two months. She was a very sick little girl, she just layed around and didn’t want to move or eat.

    Lifecruiser: Yes, it can be very dangerous. I’m glad to hear that she recovered. I hope she didn’t get any complications afterwards!

    lori CANADA said:

    i feel reaaly bad after i heard this story and i almost cried for the logest time but i feel reaaly bad for that person and i would never want to get scarlet fever.

    Lifecruiser: Well, it was a very tough time then. Today I hope that Scarlet fever is almost gone and it’s treatable at home, which makes a big difference!

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