We have today been informed that a small number of children in school have been diagnosed with confirmed scarlet fever. We have been provided with advice from Public Health Wales which follows below.
Although scarlet fever, sometimes known as scarlatina, is usually a mild illness, it should be treated with antibiotics to reduce the risk of complications and spread to others.
The symptoms of scarlet fever may 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 and a strawberry red or swollen tongue.
If you think you, or your child, have scarlet fever:
· See your GP or contact NHS Direct 0845 46 47 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.
· Good hand hygiene and avoiding the spread of respiratory secretions (as per flu - “catch it, bin it, kill it”) can help to prevent the spread of infection.
Treatment is straightforward and usually involves a course of penicillin antibiotics.
Complications: 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 arthritis (joint pain and swelling).
If you are concerned for any reason please seek medical help 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.
NHS Direct Wales website information on scarlet fever: https://www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk/encyclopaedia/s/article/scarletfever
Should your child be diagnosed with Scarlet Fever by a doctor, please inform the school as soon as possible.
Click here for more information.