We have been informed that a number of children who attend our school have been diagnosed with suspected Scarlet Fever. We have taken advice from Public Health England and would like to give you some more information about this infection.
Scarlet fever is a mild childhood illness but unlike chickenpox, it requires antibiotic treatment. Symptoms include a sore throat, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting, followed by a fine red rash which typically first appears on the chest and stomach, rapidly spreading to other parts of the body. On more darkly-pigmented skin, the scarlet rash may be harder to spot, but it should feel like 'sandpaper'. The face can be flushed red but pale around the mouth. As the rash fades the skin on the fingertips, toes and groin area can peel.
If you think you, or your child, have scarlet fever:
• See your GP or contact NHS 111 as soon as possible
• Make sure that you/your child takes the full course of any antibiotics prescribed by the doctor.
• Stay at home, away from nursery, school or work for at least 24 hours after starting the antibiotic treatment, to avoid spreading the infection
Children who have had chickenpox recently are more likely to develop more serious infection during an outbreak of scarlet fever and so parents should remain vigilant for symptoms such as a persistent high fever, cellulitis (skin infection) and joint paint or swelling. If you are concerned for any reason please seek medical assistance immediately.
If your child has an underlying condition which affects their immune system, you should contact your GP or hospital doctor to discuss whether any additional measures are needed.
We have also been sent a question and answer fact sheet from Public Health England which will provide more information and can be accessed at the top of this page.