**The following information was taken directly from the UKHSA website**
ADVICE FOR PARENTS ABOUT SCARLET FEVER AND STREP A
This article is from 6 December 2022 – the situation may change with time
The country is seeing a higher number of cases of scarlet fever this year.
Scarlet fever is usually a mild illness, but it is highly infectious. It is important to look out for symptoms in your child, which can include a sore throat, headache, and fever, along with a fine, pinkish or red body rash with a ‘sandpapery’ feel.
On darker skin, the rash can be more difficult to detect visually but will have a sandpapery feel.
Scarlet fever is caused by a bacteria called Group A streptococci (‘strep’). These bacteria also cause other respiratory and skin infections such as strep throat and impetigo.
Contact NHS 111 or your GP if you suspect your child has scarlet fever, because early treatment with antibiotics is important to reduce the risk of complications such as pneumonia or a bloodstream infection.
If your child has scarlet fever, keep them at home until at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatments to avoid spreading the infection to others.
There are lots of viruses around at the moment that cause sore throats, colds and coughs.
These should get better without medical intervention. However, sometimes children can develop a bacterial infection on top of a virus which can make them more unwell.
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 has 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.
More information on scarlet fever and Group A strep is available on the government website:
UKHSA update on scarlet fever and invasive Group A strep
**Additional Information about managing Scarlet Fever in schools**
WHAT THE ILLNESS LOOKS LIKE:
You can get more information here:
|Scarlet fever is a common childhood infection caused by Streptococcus pyogenes, or group A Streptococcus (GAS). It is not usually serious, but should be treated with antibiotics to reduce the risk of complications (such as pneumonia) and spread to others. The early symptoms of scarlet fever include sore throat, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. After 12 to 48 hours, the characteristic red, pinhead rash develops, typically first appearing on the chest and stomach, then rapidly spreading to other parts of the body, and giving the skin a sandpaper-like texture. The scarlet rash may be harder to spot on darker skin, although the ‘sandpaper’ feel should be present. Patients typically have flushed cheeks and be pale around the mouth. This may be accompanied by a bright red ‘strawberry’ tongue.
Invasive Group A Strep (iGAS)
The same bacteria which cause scarlet fever can also cause a range of other types of infection such as skin infections (impetigo) and sore throat (also known as Strep throat). In very rare cases, the bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause an illness called invasive Group A strep (iGAS). Whilst still uncommon, there has been an increase in iGAS cases this year, particularly in children under 10 years old. It is very rare for children with scarlet fever to develop iGAS infection. Parents are advised to trust their judgement when their child is unwell; if their child seriously deteriorates, they should speak to their GP or call 111 for advice.
You can reduce the spread of all infections by practicing good hand and respiratory hygiene and other standard infection control measures.
STEPS TO SUPPORT MANAGEMENT OF YOUR OUTBREAK/CLUSTER OF CASES
Please note: These steps are useful to help prevent and/or manage all infections in your setting
|2||Tell parents and visitors about the cases of illness.
|3||Remind your employees to wash their hands throughout the day. Hand washing needs to be done after changing nappies and helping children use the toilet.
Handwashing should also be done after using the toilet and before helping with food. Help children to make sure they wash their hands. You could use rewards / points to encourage children to wash their hands during the day.
Respiratory hygiene is also important. Cover mouths when coughing or sneezing, making sure to wash hands afterwards. Use disposable tissues and throw away after use.
|4||Make sure that all cuts, scrapes and wounds are cleaned and covered. This also applies to bites.
Carry out regular cleaning throughout the day, especially hand contact surfaces. Use detergent followed by a chlorine containing disinfectant (any surface that may get touched by children) including:
Potties or changing mats need to be cleaned after each use.
Carpets and soft furnishings should be vacuumed DAILY.
|6||Until you are free of illness we recommend:
|7||Once Cases have stopped:
When you have not had any new cases of illness for 10 days you must do a full clean of the building(s).
Clean surfaces, toys, floors etc where children and employees have been. You need to also steam clean carpets and any curtains need to be steam cleaned or washed on a hot wash.