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**The following information was taken directly from the UKHSA website**



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**



Scarlet Fever


You can get more information here:

Scarlet fever – NHS (

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.



Please note: These steps are useful to help prevent and/or manage all infections in your setting


  • Make sure that all children and employees that are ill go home. They cannot come back until it is safe to do so (As per national ‘Health protection in children and young people settings, including education’ guidance, children and adults with suspected scarlet fever should be excluded from nursery / school / work for 24 hours after the commencement of appropriate antibiotic treatment).
  • Any ill children need to keep away from others until they go home.
  • Employees supporting anyone ill should wear single use plastic gloves and aprons. Throw these away once they have left.
2 Tell parents and visitors about the cases of illness.

  • Ask that any non-urgent visitors do not visit
  • Depending on the severity of the outbreak/cluster, you may want to consider postponing school gatherings e.g. discos or nativity plays
  • Make sure that any visitors that do come in wash their hands on arrival and before they leave.
  • Anyone who is worried or think they may be ill with something else need to get medical advice.
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.


5 Cleaning


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:

  • light switches
  • door handles
  • hard toys
  • toilet cubicles
  • walls
  • tables


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:


  • that you stop messy play (you can swap playdough with homemade dough that can be thrown out at the end of each day).
  • remove soft toys that are tricky to clean (or hot wash them each day)
  • you don’t go on any visits out of your setting
  • Do not allow children to share drinks between each other.


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.


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