Scarlet Fever On The Rise - What To Look Out For

Scarlet Fever On The Rise
29 February 2016

According to Public Health England, 37 cases of scarlet fever were reported in the South West of England last week.

The Exeter Express and Echo reports:

"Parents are urged to be on the lookout for symptoms after new cases of scarlet fever were recorded. The warning is to try to stem the rise in cases of the illness - to catch it ahead of a peak in infections, which happen in March and April, as it is extremely contagious."

Scarlet fever is a highly contagious bacterial disease which mainly affects children between the ages of two and eight. There is no vaccination against it but it's not the serious health threat it once was. That said, prompt treatment is important.

Symptoms include a rash, a sore throat, flushed cheeks and swollen tongue.

Public Health England offers this guidance to parents and carers on how to protect against scarlet fever:

  • Wash hands regularly
  • Don't share eating utensils with an infected person
  • Wash or dispose of tissues / hankies used by an infected person
  • Be aware that you can catch scarlet fever by inhaling airborne droplets if someone with the illness coughs or sneezes in the air near you.

See your GP immediately if you're concerned that your child is showing symptoms of scarlet fever. Ensure any course of antibiotics is finished, and keep your child at home for at least 24 hours after starting antibiotics in order to minimise the risk of spreading infection.

TOPICS:   Parenting Tips


  • Shell

    my son had Scarlett fever two weeks ago, he was so poorly bless him he is 6 years old, his tongue was so swollen, red and had spots on it and looked like he had  thrush but it was all part of it X 

    • heidi

      Hi Shell, hope your little one is on the mend now. One of my troops had it too and the 'strawberry tongue' you describe was the first symptom my GP pointed out. 

  • Simpsons09

    Interesting reading.Being a mother of 7 I had never come across this illness until a few weeks back. My 22 month old was very poorly & given penicillin 4 times daily for 10 days.Then my 3 1/2 ur old caught it but not as severe as my son.Apparently is was rare but becoming Increasingly common nowadays.Defiently took me by surprise.Not a nice thing for my children to catch.

    • heidi

      Hope they're both feeling better now. I hadn't really heard of it until my son came down with it too. Thankfully the GP was quick to diagnose and antibiotics sorted it.

  • warriormum

    My SEN son who is 15yrs old has it at the moment ,,, there seems to be conflecting information , I have 6 children aged 39yrs -15 yrs and have never seen or heard of this before .

    • Agado

      Our 3 year old has it now & we habe decided to keep her home longer from preschool as it can still be very contegious.

    • heidi

      Hope your son is feeling better soon. I hadn't heard of it either until my GP diagnosed it - sounded like something out of the Victorian ages to me but a week off school and a course of antibiotics and he was feeling much better, thankfully.

  • Sel

    Our Son is 12 years & was diagnosed with Scarlet Fever yesterday. He has started his 10 day, 2 tablets 4 times a day  antibiotic course. The 1st 48hrs he has to stay away from everyone but after this he is able to return to school!.. not sure he will be returning so soon though. It has been a tough few days for us, trip to A&E Sunday to be told it was a virus after ruling out meningitis, visit to our GP yesterday due to our Son covered in the rash & swollen tongue who referred us back to hospital again, where it was confirmed it was Scarlet Fever. Like many I had heard of it bit had never came across anybody who had it before. 

  • Louise1974

    my six year old son had it last January and was very poorly 10 day course of antibiotics and he was ok took him to the doctors last week he was swabbed and guess what he has it again so another course was given and he's still not well not enough information if it's caught a second time X

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