We have a number of children who are unwell and absent currently. Many of these children have coughs, colds or flu like symptoms.
Many of our families have become anxious given the recent reports around Streptococcus A and so I’d like to share NHS information about Streptococcus A. This information and further links can be found at:
This year Public Health have seen higher than usual numbers of Streptococcus A infections and persistently high numbers of cases of scarlet fever (a common presentation of this infection) among children.
Streptococcus A (Strep A)
Group A Streptococcus (GAS), also known as Strep A, are bacteria commonly found on the skin or in the throat. Under some circumstances these bacteria can cause disease.
GAS infection commonly presents as a mild sore throat (‘strep throat’) and skin/soft tissue infections such as impetigo and cellulitis.
GAS bacteria can cause a wide variety of skin, soft tissue and respiratory tract infections ranging in severity from mild to life-threatening. These include:
- sore throat
- scarlet fever
- erysipelas (a type of cellulitis)
Signs and Symptoms of Scarlet Fever
- sore throat
- high temperature
- raised pink/purple spots that join up to produce a skin rash, which feels like sandpaper to the touch
Children with suspected scarlet fever should be seen by a health professional.
Children with suspected scarlet fever should be excluded from school until 24 hours after the commencement of appropriate antibiotic treatment. They can return after this period if they are well.
Contact your GP if your child:
- is getting worse.
- is feeding or eating much less than normal.
- has had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more or shows other signs of dehydration.
- is under 3 months and has a temperature of 38°C.
- is older than 3 months and has a temperature of 39°C or higher.
- feels hotter than usual when you touch their back or chest, or feels sweaty.
- is very tired or irritable.
If your GP is closed, phone the 111 service.
If you feel that your child is seriously unwell, trust your own judgement and seek medical assistance.
Phone 999 or go to A & E if:
- your child is having difficulty breathing (you may notice grunting noises or their tummy sucking under their ribs).
- there are pauses when your child breathes.
- your child’s skin, tongue or lips are blue.
- your child is floppy and will not wake up or stay awake.
Preventing GAS Infections
GAS are spread by close contact between individuals, through respiratory droplets (moisture in your breath) and direct skin contact.
To help reduce the risk of picking up or spreading infections:
- wash your hands properly with soap for 20 seconds.
- use a disposable tissue to catch coughs and sneezes.
- keep away from others if you feel unwell.