Scarlet Fever (Strep A) Parent Advice

There are currently high rates of Scarlet Fever (caused by Group A Strep) in the UK. Scarlet Fever is much more common in children than in adults and it is important that children with Scarlet Fever are seen by their GP so that they can be started on antibiotics.

The rash of Scarlet Fever often begins with small spots on the body that then spread to the neck, arms and legs over the next 1 to 2 days. It is often sandpaper like to touch and is sometimes itchy.

Your child may also have a:

Sore throat/tonsillitis
Fever (temperature of 38°C (100.4°F or above))
Painful, swollen glands in the neck
A red tongue (strawberry tongue)

Parent Advice – Strep A

Occasionally, the bacteria causing Scarlet Fever can spread to other areas of the body, causing infections in the neck (tonsillar abscesses or lymph node abscesses), chest infections (pneumonia) or sepsis.

How long will your child’s symptoms last?

The sore throat and fever often last for about 36 days and the rash usually improves within a week. Antibiotics reduce the length of fever/sore throat by about 1 day.
Children commonly experience peeling of their fingers or toes after Scarlet Fever.
Your child is no longer infectious to others (contagious) after 24 hours of starting antibiotics and can go back to school/nursery if they feel well enough. 

What should you do?

If you think your child has Scarlet Fever, they should be seen their GP. They may need treatment with antibiotics.

For more information, please see our leaflet: Scarlet Fever