There are currently high rates of Group A strep and scarlet fever in the UK. Scarlet fever, which is caused by the bacteria Group A streptococcus, is usually a mild illness but it is highly infectious. It much more common in children than in adults; it is important that children with scarlet fever are seen by their GP so that they can be started on antibiotics. This is not only to reduce the chance of their infection becoming more severe but also to stop them spreading the infection to others, especially people at higher risk of severe infections such as the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.
Advice for parents
As a parent, if you feel that your child seems seriously unwell, you should trust your own judgement. Contact NHS 111 or your GP if:
- your child is getting worse
- your child is feeding or eating much less than normal
- your child has had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more or shows other signs of dehydration
- your baby is under 3 months and has a temperature of 38°C, or is older than 3 months and has a temperature of 39°C or higher
- your baby feels hotter than usual when you touch their back or chest, or feels sweaty
- your child is very tired or irritable
Call 999 or go to A&E if:
- your child is having difficulty breathing – you may notice grunting noises or their tummy sucking under their ribs
- there are pauses when your child breathes
- your child’s skin, tongue or lips are blue
- your child is floppy and will not wake up or stay awake
Good hand and respiratory hygiene are important for stopping the spread of many bugs. By teaching your child how to wash their hands properly with soap for 20 seconds, using a tissue to catch coughs and sneezes, and keeping away from others when feeling unwell, they will be able to reduce the risk of picking up or spreading infections.
For more information please follow this link to the UK Health Security Agency pages