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Strep A infections – know the signs

Parents are being urged to be alert for the signs of Strep A infections.  This is also known Group A streptococcal (GAS) or invasive Group A streptococcal (iGAS) infections.

Especially in winter, there are a range of causes of sore throats, colds and coughs   caused by viruses that will get better by themselves without needing antibiotics or medical intervention, meaning it not being necessary to contact your GP surgery.

Occasionally, Strep A can lead to more serious illnesses like scarlet fever and, albeit rarely, very serious disease such as sepsis, Pneumonia or bone infections. 

Across adapt to place there has been an increase in cases this year, particularly in children under 10. Nationally, there have sadly been some deaths. We want parents to know what to look out for and when to seek medical care.

What to do if you suspect your child has scarlet fever

Scarlet fever mainly affects children under 10, but people of any age can get it. In the early stages, symptoms include a sore throat, headache, and fever, along with a fine, pinkish or red body rash with a sandpapery feel. On darker skin, the rash can be more difficult to detect visually but will have a sandpapery feel.

We are asking parents to contact their GP if they suspect their child has scarlet fever, because early treatment with antibiotics is important to reduce the risk of complications such as pneumonia or a bloodstream infection.

Parents should contact their GP if they feel:

Call 999 or go to the Emergency Department if:

Strep infections are spread by close contact with an infected person and can be passed on through coughs and sneezes. 

Please consider that emergency departments and GP surgeries are very busy. If you feel that your child can stay at home or be seen elsewhere, such as a pharmacy, please do so. 

Further information is available on the national NHS website

For further information on scarlet fever, please click here.

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