Scarlet Fever: What are the symptoms?
Scarlet Fever is an infectious bacterial disease affecting especially children, and causing fever and a scarlet rash.
The first symptoms often include a sore throat, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting. After 12 to 48 hours a fine red rash develops which feels like sandpaper to touch.
The rash usually appears on the chest and stomach before rapidly spreading to other parts of the body.
On darker skin the rash can be harder to spot, although the skin will still feel like sandpaper.
Other signs include:
- Fever of over 38.3 degrees Celsius or higher is common
- White coating of the tongue, which peels to leave the tongue looking red and swollen
- Swollen glands in the neck
- Feeling tired and generally unwell
- Flushed red face but pale around the mouth
- Peeling skin on the fingertips, toes and groin area as the rash fades.
Good hygiene is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infection, which is often transferred by coughs and sneezes, direct physical contact or through shared contact with toys, table tops, taps and handles.
To protect against infection parents and carers should:
- Make sure children wash their hands regularly
- Not allow children to share cutlery with an infected person
- Make sure children avoid people with the infection
- Wash or dispose of tissues or handkerchiefs 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.