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Warning as cases of Victorian disease soar in UK – the symptoms to look out for

CASES of scarlet fever are higher than normal for this time of year and parents have been warned to be on the lookout for symptoms.

Scarlet fever is one of winter’s childhood illnesses and the bacterial infection can be caught by anyone, but most commonly affects children under ten.

If your child has scarlet fever, keep them out of school and away from other people

Parents should look out for flu-like symptoms including a sore throat or rash, headache, high temperature, sickness and swollen glands in the neck.

A distinctive rash appears 12 to 48 hours later, which spreads from the chest and tummy and looks like small, raised bumps which will make skin feel rough and sandpaper-like to the touch.

A white coating also appears on the tongue, which then peels and results in “strawberry tongue” – when the tongue becomes red and swollen and covered in little bumps.

These symptoms are the same for both children and adults.

Dr Chun Tang, GP and Medical Director at Pall Mall Medical, explained: “It’s been relatively rare in the UK for the past few decades but cases have been rising.

“It’s a contagious disease and can make children feel rather poorly.”
Treatment is usually a ten-day course of antibiotics.

Dr Naveen Puri, Associate Clinical Director at Bupa Health Clinics, who offer GP services to one to 18-year-olds, explained: “It is contagious and passed through coughing, sneezing or close contact, sharing bath towels, clothes, bed sheets or cutlery with the infected person.

“If your child has scarlet fever, keep them out of school and away from other people.”

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