Scarlet fever and invasive Group A strep

Posted: December 12, 2022

Scarlet fever is usually a mild illness. Symptoms include a sore throat, headache, swollen neck glands, and fever, along with a fine, pinkish or red body rash with a sandpapery feel. The rash may be harder to see on darker skin tones but you should be able to feel it. Contact your GP or NHS 111 if you think your child has scarlet fever.

In very rare occasions the bacteria that causes scarlet fever can get into the bloodstream and cause an illness called invasive Group A strep.
If your child seems seriously unwell contact your GP or call NHS 111. Do this if your child is feeding or eating much less than normal, has a dry nappy for 12 hours or more or seems dehydrated, feels hotter than usual (for a baby under 3 months a temperature of 38°C, for older than 3 months a temperature of 39°C or higher) or is very tired and irritable.

Call 999 or go to A&E if your child is having difficulty breathing, there are pauses when your child breathes, your child’s skin, tongue or lips are blue or your child is floppy and will not wake up or stay awake.

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