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Children's health

19th Jul 2023

What are the symptoms of scarlet fever aka Strep A?

Kat O'Connor

Scarlet fever can be treated with antibiotics.

Parents have been advised to familiarise themselves with the symptoms of scarlet fever aka Strep A.

Many parents have been feeling concerned about the virus, after a spike in cases this spring, but health experts have stressed that scarlet fever can be treated with antibiotics.

The HPSC in Ireland listed the symptoms of scarlet fever to look out for.

Symptoms include a fever, a rash, flushed cheeks, and a sore throat. Your child will also have a swollen tongue.

The tongue may be covered in a white coating. This coating will peel and leave the tongue swollen and red. This is known as ‘strawberry tongue’.

The rash is typically found in the joint creases, as well as over the child’s stomach. It can feel rough, like sandpaper.

Children who contract scarlet fever will often have a mild infection. Complications are rare, but they are still possible.

Complications include ear infections, throat abscesses, and pneumonia.

In extreme cases, children may develop kidney damage, as well as heart damage.

Luckily, these rare complications can be prevented if the child is treated promptly. Antibiotics will help prevent complications.

It typically affects children under the age of 10, but it can affect children of all ages.

It is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus pyogenes, also known as group A streptococci (GAS).