Check­ing fever

RISE IN CASES OF SCAR­LET FEVER IN LON­DON – HERE’S HOW TO SPOT IT AND TREAT IT

Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette - - News -

A TO­TAL of 36 cases of the con­ta­gious dis­ease scar­let fever were re­ported in Lon­don early this month.

In the week end­ing De­cem­ber 2, 10 cases of the po­ten­tially deadly dis­ease were re­ported to Pub­lic Health Eng­land in in­ner Lon­don and 26 in outer Lon­don. De­spite the dis­ease be­ing most com­mon in the spring, there has been a re­cent rise.

Pub­lic Health Eng­land puts to­gether a re­port every week mon­i­tor­ing the num­ber of cases of in­fec­tious dis­eases across the coun­try.

The No­ti­fi­ca­tion of In­fec­tious Dis­eases re­port for the week end­ing De­cem­ber 2 shows that in west Lon­don, there were three cases in Brent, one case in Eal­ing, two cases in Houn­slow, one case in Kingston Upon Thames and three in Rich­mond Upon Thames.

Although scar­let fever looks wor­ry­ing with its ugly red rashes – and it was of­ten deadly for chil­dren in Vic­to­rian times – these days it is usu­ally not fa­tal if treated, ac­cord­ing to the NHS.

Chil­dren can be par­tic­u­larly vul­ner­a­ble to the ill­ness and fam­i­lies should know what to do if they find them­selves af­fected by an out­break.

What is scar­let fever?

Scar­let fever is caused by bac­te­ria known as group A strep­to­coc­cus (GAS). It is spread through close con­tact with peo­ple car­ry­ing the or­gan­ism, of­ten in the throat, or by touch­ing ob­jects and sur­faces con­tam­i­nated with the bac­terium.

What are the symp­toms?

Symp­toms in­clude a sore throat, headache and fever ac­com­pa­nied by a char­ac­ter­is­tic pink red rash that feels like sand­pa­per.

When to see your GP

The NHS ad­vice is to see your GP or call 111 as soon as pos­si­ble if:

■ You think your child has scar­let fever

■ You have symp­toms of scar­let fever

■ You or your child have been treated for scar­let fever but the symp­toms haven’t im­proved after a week or are get­ting worse

Treat­ment with an­tibi­otics is rec­om­mended to re­duce the length of time the in­fec­tion is con­ta­gious, speed up re­cov­ery and re­duce the risk of any fur­ther prob­lems.

Your GP can usu­ally di­ag­nose scar­let fever by look­ing at the rash.

Some­times they may use a cot­ton bud to re­move a bit of saliva from the throat so it can be tested.

How is scar­let fever treated?

Your GP will pre­scribe an­tibi­otics (or liq­uid for young chil­dren) to take for five or 10 days.

You or your child should start feel­ing bet­ter after a day or two, but make sure you fin­ish the whole course of treat­ment.

Scar­let fever usu­ally clears up within a week, although the skin may peel for a few weeks after the other symp­toms have passed.

The in­fec­tion is con­ta­gious from be­fore the symp­toms ap­pear, un­til 24 hours after start­ing an­tibi­otic treat­ment and up to two or three weeks later if you don’t take an­tibi­otics.

Cont.act your GP if you or your child gets any new symp­toms that you’re wor­ried about in the weeks after a scar­let fever in­fec­tion.

The symp­toms can be spread through coughs and sneezes.

What the symp­toms could also be

There are many other ill­nesses that can cause a spotty or blotchy red rash, in­clud­ing rose­ola, slapped cheek syn­drome, measles, rubella and menin­gi­tis.

GETTY IM­AGES

A lit­tle girl with scar­let fever

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