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Public Health Advice about Scarlet Fever


Public Health advice about Scarlet Fever DECEMBER 2016

We have had a small number of confirmed cases of Scarlet Fever.

We have sought advice from the local Public Health England, Health Protection Team. They have advised that although scarlet fever is usually a mild illness, it should be treated with antibiotics to

minimise the risk of complications and to reduce spread to others.

The symptoms of scarlet fever include a sore throat, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. This is 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.

If you think you, or your child, have scarlet fever:

  • See your GP or contact NHS 111 as soon as possible
  • Ask your GP to take a throat swab to confirm if this is scarlet fever
  • 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

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.

You can find more information on NHS Choices at http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Scarlet-fever/Pages/Introduction.aspx.

Whilst scarlet fever is circulating in the school, it is also very important that children with chickenpox stay off school until all their blisters have dried over. This is because the bacteria that cause scarlet fever can also cause skin infections. People recovering from chickenpox are susceptible to infections of the skin.

The Health Protection team have advised us on hygiene measures to help prevent spread within our school / nursery. Parents can also help with this by reminding children of the importance of coughing /sneezing in to tissues and placing these in the bin, washing hands regularly and ensuring any breaks to the skin are covered with a waterproof plaster/dressing before attending school.

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