Scarlet Fever and Group A Strep

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We appreciate it can be a worrying time for parents and carers following the recent coverage of Scarlet Fever and Strep A in the news.

Scarlet fever is usually a mild, but very infectious illness which is caused by a bacterium called group A streptococcus. This is a common bacteria – lots of us carry it in our throats and on our skin and it doesn’t usually result in illness. It can cause a number of infections such as tonsillitis and impetigo which are treatable with antibiotics.

It is important to remember that most cases are mild, but on very rare occasions the bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause a serious infection called invasive Group A strep. Whilst these infections are uncommon, there has been an increase in cases this year, particularly in children under 10.

Our advice to parents remains the same as always – if your child seems seriously unwell, trust your own judgement.

Contact the Practice or 111 if:

  • Your child is displaying symptoms of scarlet fever – a sore throat, headache and fever along with a fine, pinkish or red body rash with a sandpapery feel
  • Your child is getting worse despite paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • Your child is feeding or eating much less than normal
  • Your child has had a dry nappy for 8 hours or more or shows signs of dehydration
  • Your baby is under 3 months and has a temperature of 38°C or higher, 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 irritable or tired

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