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Parents, schools and nurseries reminded to be aware of the symptoms of scarlet fever

Further information is being issued by the council’s Public Health team after advice was issued earlier in the week to schools and nurseries about scarlet fever.

Primary school children in Lincolnshire

A reminder has been issued by the council’s Public Health team to schools and nurseries after figures show the increase in scarlet fever cases has continued into the spring.

Although the bacterial infection can be highly infectious, it can be treated with antibiotics. Schools and parents are therefore being reminded to watch for signs and symptoms. Parents should contact their GP if symptoms are present and keep children showing symptoms at home for at least 24 hours after starting antibiotic treatment.

Liz Morgan, Assistant Director for Public Health at Lincolnshire County Council, said:

“Public Health England has reported that local statistics have mirrored regional and national ones, with more cases reported than last year, so we’re taking the common sense measure of reminding schools and nurseries of how to identify scarlet fever and what to do if a case is suspected.”

“As scarlet fever is particularly contagious, it’s always best for parents to contact their GP if they think their child has the symptoms. In the majority of mild cases, scarlet fever will clear up by itself but antibiotics reduce symptoms, the risk of complications and of passing the infection on to someone else.”

What is scarlet fever?

Scarlet fever (sometimes called scarlatina) is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes, which is commonly found on the skin or in the throat, where it can live without causing problems. However, under some circumstances, they can also cause diseases like scarlet fever.

Scarlet fever is mainly a childhood disease and is most common between the ages of two and eight years.

How is it spread?

It is usually spread by coughing, sneezing or breathing out. Scarlet fever can also be caught through direct contact with the mucus or saliva of an infected person, meaning it can live on eating utensils or surfaces such as tables.

What are the symptoms?

Scarlet fever is characterised by a fine, red, sandpapery rash which typically appears first on the chest and stomach, rapidly spreading to other parts of the body.

Other symptoms can include:

  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • White coating on the tongue
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Feeling tired and unwell
  • Flushed face, but pale around the mouth
  • Peeling skin on the fingertips, toes and groin area as the rash fades

Symptoms take around two to five days to develop after infection.

How do I protect myself from scarlet fever?

The risk of infection can be reduced through general good hygiene and cleanliness, including:

  • Washing your hands often
  • Not sharing eating utensils with someone who has the infection
  • Disposing of tissues promptly

What should I do if I think my child has scarlet fever?

  • See their GP as soon as possible
  • Make sure that your child takes the full course of any antibiotics prescribed. Although your child will feel better very quickly after starting the course of antibiotics, you must complete the course of treatment to ensure that you don’t carry the germs after you’ve recovered.
  • Stay at home, away from nursery, school or work for at least 24 hours after starting the antibiotic treatment to avoid spreading the infection.
  • You can help stop the spread of infection through frequent hand-washing and by not sharing eating utensils, clothes, bedding or towels.

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