Scarlet Fever is a bacterial illness that typically occurs in children. The condition has been relatively rare in the UK over recent decades but the number of cases is rising.
It’s a contagious condition that may leave your child feeling pretty poorly, however, there are ways to minimise the spread of infection.
That’s why it’s a good idea to be aware of the symptoms, and to arrange a health assessment if you think you or your child may have scarlet fever.
What is scarlet fever?
Scarlet fever is caused by A streptococcus bacteria. This is typically found on the skin and in the throat, which is often where you'll first start to notice signs of infection.
Although it's most common among children, scarlet fever can affect adults in a limited number of cases. Children between the ages of two and eight years old are most vulnerable, with the peak infection period between September and April.
What are the symptoms?
Your child may feel unwell with a sore throat, headache or high temperature. They might also have a pink, blotchy rash, which manifests on the chest before spreading to other areas of the body. Their cheeks might appear flushed, but it's unusual for the rash to appear on the face.
Other symptoms of scarlet fever to look for are:
● A white coating on the tongue
● Swollen glands in the neck
● Nausea and sickness
● Loss of appetite
If you come across any of these conditions, take your child for a full health check. One of the benefits of private medical care is you will be seen straight away, so a doctor will be able to make a quick diagnosis.
How does scarlet fever spread?
There are various ways you can be infected by scarlet fever. Contaminated food and coming into contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person are two of the most common methods.
It's important to disinfect any items someone with scarlet fever might have used, particularly drinking glasses and cutlery. Anyone affected by the condition should also make sure they cover their nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.
How is scarlet fever treated?
The most common way to treat scarlet fever is through antibiotics. It's likely your doctor will prescribe a 10-day course of phenoxymethylpenicillin, or a suitable alternative if you are allergic to penicillin.
This should reduce the fever within the first couple of days, while other symptoms may take a little longer to subside. Over-the-counter medicines such as paracetamol and ibuprofen can be used to reduce your child's temperature and make them feel a little bit better.
It's usually advisable to keep your child away from other youngsters for at least 24 hours after the treatment has begun.
It’s also crucial to keep fluid levels up. Private doctors will likely suggest keeping your child well hydrated and for them to get plenty of rest while they recover
For more information, contact one of our GPs now.