People with symptoms of Scarlet Fever cannot use the Sore Throat Test and Treat service, available in some Pharmacies across South Wales, as this is for management of bacterial tonsilitis or viral sore throat only. Anyone with signs of Scarlet Fever (sore throat, fever, rash, swollen tongue) should instead, contact their GP or NHS 111. Anyone asking for the Sore Throat Test and Treat Service in a pharmacy who as symptoms indicating possible Scarlet Fever will be referred on to their GP or NHS 111 by the pharmacist.
Group A Streptococcus (GAS) – also known as Streptococcus pyogenes – are bacteria commonly found on the skin or in the throat, where they can live without causing problems. Under some circumstances, however, these bacteria can cause disease. GAS bacteria can cause a wide variety of skin, soft tissue and respiratory tract infections ranging in severity from mild to life-threatening.
Information on the wide variety of skin, soft tissue and respiratory tract infections caused by Strep A, ranging in severity from mild to life-threatening is available on the NHS 111 Wales website.
The best thing to do is to provide the care that you would usually provide for a child with cold and flu like symptoms, but to familiarise yourself with the symptoms of scarlet fever and iGAS as a precaution.
A common presentation of infection with streptococcal A is scarlet fever, usually a mild illness.
The symptoms of scarlet fever include:
This is followed by a fine red rash, which typically first appears on the chest and stomach, rapidly spreading to other parts of the body. Older children may not have the rash. On more darkly pigmented skin, the scarlet rash may be harder to spot, but it should feel like 'sandpaper'. The face can be flushed red but pale around the mouth.
If you suspect a child has symptoms of scarlet fever you are advised to:
In very rare cases, Strep A infection can cause iGAS, a rare complication which affects fewer than 20 children in Wales each year. Although iGAS is a worrying condition, the majority of these children will recover with proper treatment. Contact a GP or call NHS 111 Wales to get medical advice if a child has any of the following symptoms of iGAS disease:
In addition, also contact a GP or call NHS 111 Wales if:
Call 999 or go to the Emergency Department if:
Good hand and respiratory hygiene are important for stopping the spread of many bugs. By teaching your child how to wash their hands properly with soap for 20 seconds, using a tissue to catch coughs and sneezes, and keeping away from others when feeling unwell, they will be able to reduce the risk of picking up or spreading infections.
It is also important that children from two years upwards are protected from seasonal flu and have the vaccine.