Scarlet Fever outbreaks reported in Lancashire - here are the symptoms you need to watch out for

Public health officials are investigating outbreaks of scarlet fever at a number of schools in Lancashire.

By Jon Peake
Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 11:19 am

According to the NHS website scarlet fever is a contagious infection that mostly affects young children, though adults can also contract it.

The first signs of scarlet fever can be flu-like symptoms, including a high temperature, a sore throat and swollen neck glands. People may not immediately realise they have scarlet fever, as they are similar symptoms to having a cold or coronavirus.

A rash can appear between 12 and 48 hours later, which may start on the chest and stomach and spread, and a white coating appears on the tongue.

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The symptoms of scarlet fever as cases are reported in Lancashire

Scarlet fever can spread quickly and people are contagious for up to six days before they get symptoms.

GPs can diagnose scarlet fever by looking at the tongue and rash, while they sometimes use a cotton bud to take a swab from the back of the throat or carry out a blood test to confirm.

The NHS says scarlet fever is easy to treat with antibiotics, which helps the patient to recover more quickly, reduces the chances of a serious illness and makes it less likely that they will spread it to someone else.

People can also relieve the symptoms at home by drinking cool fluids, eating soft foods, taking painkillers like paracetamol and using calamine lotion or antihistamines to prevent itching.

Scarlet fever usually lasts for around a week and complications are rare, but can include an ear infection, pneumonia and meningitis.

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