Posted: Thursday 5th April 2018
There are currently a higher number of reports than the previous four seasons of cases of Scarlet Fever in England. As yet cases in Hertfordshire are not higher than we would expect. There is no cause for alarm as this is seasonal increase in an infection which is comparatively mild, it is worth knowing the signs and when to seek medical help.
If a parent or anyone thinks their child has it and are showing symptoms, take advice by contacting your GP by phone or calling NHS111. Although a mild infection and not difficult to treat in most cases, it is sensible for parents to get advice because the risk of complications varies among children.
The NHS Website has a helpful page on Scarlet Fever
Guidance has also been issued to schools and nurseries
Symptoms of scarlet fever to watch out for:
Scarlet fever is characterised by a rash, which usually accompanies a sore throat, and is sometimes confused with the measles' rash. The bacteria which cause the infection produce toxins (poisons), which cause a rash, itching, a red and swollen tongue and flushed cheeks. The first symptoms of scarlet fever often include a sore throat, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. After 12 to 48 hours the characteristic fine red rash develops (if you touch it, it feels like sandpaper). Typically, it first appears on the chest and stomach, rapidly spreading to other parts of the body. On more darkly-pigmented skin, the scarlet rash may be harder to spot, although the 'sandpaper' feel should be present.
· Fever over 38.3º C (101º F) or higher is common
· White coating on the tongue, which peels a few days later, leaving the tongue looking red and swollen (known as 'strawberry tongue')
· Swollen glands in the neck
· Feeling tired and unwell
· Flushed red face, but pale around the mouth. The flushed face may appear more 'sunburnt' on darker skin
· Peeling skin on the finger tips, toes and groin area, as the rash fades.
It usually takes two to five days from infection before the first symptoms appear. However, the incubation period may be as short as one day and as long as seven days. Scarlet fever usually clears up after a week, but it is advisable to visit your GP to get a full diagnosis and proper treatment.
More information on the NHS web page for Scarlet Fever