What is scarlet fever? How is it caught, how can it be recognised and what should parents or early years staff do if they spot it?

Q

What is scarlet fever? How is it caught, how can it be recognised and what should parents or early years staff do if they spot it?

A

Scarlet fever is a contagious infection that mostly affects young children. It is usually a mild illness if treated quickly but it is currently on the increase and Public Health England (PHE) is advising parents to be on the lookout for the symptoms.

The first signs of scarlet fever are flu-like symptoms, including a high temperature of 38°C or above, swollen neck glands, a sore throat and headache. There is acute inflammation extending over the pharynx or tonsils. The tonsils may be deep red in colour and partially covered with a thick yellowish exudate.

A red rash appears a few days later. This is described as characteristically fine, pinkish or with a sandpapery feel. The rash starts on the chest and tummy.

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