Strep A information for parents

You may have seen in the news and online stories about Group A Strep.

The latest data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) shows that scarlet fever cases continue to remain higher than we would typically see at this time of year.

Scarlet fever is a contagious infection that mostly affects young children. It’s easily treated with antibiotics.

The first signs of scarlet fever can be flu-like symptoms, including a high temperature, a sore throat and swollen neck glands (a large lump on the side of your neck).

Advice for parents and Carers

Scarlet fever, or ‘Strep A’, is caused by bacteria called group A streptococci (strep).
Scarlet fever is usually a mild illness, but it is highly infectious. Therefore, look out for symptoms in your child, which include a sore throat, headache, and fever, along with a fine, pinkish or red body rash with a sandpapery feel.
On darker skin, the rash can be more difficult to detect visually, but will have a sandpapery feel. Contact NHS 111 or your GP if you suspect your child has scarlet fever, because early treatment of scarlet fever with antibiotics is important to reduce the risk of complications such as pneumonia or a bloodstream infection. If your child has scarlet fever, keep them at home until at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment to avoid spreading the infection to others.
It is important to mention that there are lots of viruses that cause sore throats, colds and coughs this time of year. These should resolve without medical intervention. Your community pharmacy is a great first port of call for minor health issues. However, children can on occasion develop a bacterial infection on top of a virus and that can make them more unwell.
More information can be found on the NHS website: Scarlet fever – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Look out for symptoms in your child, which include:

  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • A fine, pinkish or red body rash with a sandpapery feel.
    On darker skin the rash can be more difficult to detect visually but will have a
    sandpapery feel.

    Contact NHS 111 or your GP if you suspect your child has scarlet fever, because
    early treatment with antibiotics is important to reduce the risk of complications, such
    as pneumonia or a bloodstream infection.
    If your child has scarlet fever, keep them at home until at least 24 hours after the start
    of antibiotic treatment to avoid spreading the infection to others.

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