Scarlet Fever -June 2022
Thursday June 23rd 2022
We wanted to let you know that we have a case of scarlet fever in nursery and we are aware that there have been a growing number of cases in the local area.
Scarlet fever is a contagious infection that mostly affects young children. It's easily treated with antibiotics.
Please keep your child at home if they are unwell to help stop the spread of illnesses and diseases.
The first signs of scarlet fever can be flu-like symptoms, including a high temperature, a sore throat and swollen neck glands (a large lump on the side of your neck).
A rash appears 12 to 48 hours later. It looks like small, raised bumps and starts on the chest and tummy, then spreads. The rash makes your skin feel rough, like sandpaper.
On white skin the rash looks pink or red. It may be harder to see on brown and black skin, but you can still feel it.
A white coating can also appear on the tongue. This can peel, leaving the tongue red, swollen and covered in little bumps (called "strawberry tongue").
The rash does not appear on the face, but the cheeks can look red. The redness may be harder to see on brown and black skin.
The symptoms are the same for children and adults, although scarlet fever is less common in adults.
Please contact your GP if your child or someone in your family
- has scarlet fever symptoms
- does not get better in a week (after seeing a GP)
- has scarlet fever and chickenpox at the same time
- becomes ill again, weeks after scarlet fever got better – this can be a sign of a complication, such as rheumatic fever
- is feeling unwell and has been in contact with someone who has scarlet fever
Scarlet fever is very easily spread. Check with a GP before you go in. They may suggest a phone consultation.
A GP will prescribe antibiotics. These will:
- help your child get better quicker
- reduce the chance of a serious illnesses, such as pneumonia
- make it less likely that your child will pass the infection on to someone else
Things you can do yourself
You can relieve symptoms of scarlet fever by:
- drinking cool fluids
- eating soft foods if you have a sore throat
- taking painkillers like paracetamol to bring down a high temperature (do not give aspirin to children under 16)
- using calamine lotion or antihistamine tablets to ease itching
How long scarlet fever lasts
Scarlet fever lasts for around 1 week.
You can spread scarlet fever to other people up to 6 days before you get symptoms until 24 hours after you take your 1st dose of antibiotics.
If you do not take antibiotics, you can spread the infection for 2 to 3 weeks after your symptoms start.
If you or your child has scarlet fever, stay away from nursery, school or work for 24 hours after you take the 1st dose of antibiotics.