Over the past week, there have been 11 confirmed cases of scarlet fever across Somerset and Bath. This is the highest number of reported cases for the condition in months.
Scarlet fever is caused by bacteria known as Group A streptococcus (GAS). One can contract it by physical interactions with a person who is a carrier or by touching objects and surfaces contaminated with bacteria. Scarlet fever is more common during the spring time but it occurs all year round. It is rarely fatal even though it was responsible for a lot of childhood deaths in the Victorian Era.
Symptoms of scarlet fever include headache, sore throat and a fever accompanied by a characteristic pink red rash that feels like sandpaper. Make sure you see your GP if you or your child have symptoms of scarlet fever, or if you have been treated but the symptoms do not improve after one week.
To treat scarlet fever, your GP will prescribe antibiotics to take for five or ten days. You should start feeling better after a day or two but continue with your medication for the duration of the treatment. Scarlet fever lasts for about a week although your skin may peel for a while after the symptoms have passed.
Scarlet fever is spread in the tiny droplets found in an infected person’s breath, coughs and sneezes, thus making it contagious.