Scarlet fever is an infectious disease caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes, or group A streptococcus (GAS).
Symptoms will develop 2-5 days after infection. The symptoms of Strep A/ scarlet fever are flu like, including a sore throat, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. Followed by a fine red rash often first appearing on the chest and stomach, rapidly spreading to other parts of the body. On darker-pigmented skin, the scarlet rash may not be as visible, but it should feel like ‘sandpaper’. The face can be flushed red and pale around the mouth.
Many viruses are circulating this winter, like flu. Reducing these viruses through vaccination can help protect against GAS outbreaks.
How to stop the spread scarlet fever
Scarlet fever is very infectious therefore, to reduce the chance of spreading scarlet fever:
- wash your hands often with soap and water
- use tissues to trap germs from coughs or sneezes
- bin used tissues as quickly as possible
- do not share cutlery, cups, towels, clothes, bedding or baths with anyone who has symptoms of scarlet fever
If you think you, or your child, have scarlet fever:
- Contact your GP or NHS 111 as soon as possible
- make sure that you or your child take(s) the complete antibiotics prescribed, even if you or your child will feel better soon after starting the course of antibiotics, it must be completed to ensure that you do not carry the bacteria in your throat after you have recovered
- stay at home, away from nursery, school or work for a minimum of 24 hours after starting the antibiotic treatment, to avoid spreading the infection
If you would like more information about scarlet fever, please visit the NHS.UK website.