Smorgasbord Health Column – Health in the News – Scarlet Fever Cases Rocket.

Scarlet Fever was in the news at the end of March and there is a worrying upward trend in cases. There have been a number of articles in the last few weeks so I will give you the summaries and the links to view the whole post.

First… what is Scarlet Fever?

This is a disease that was very prevalent in the Victorian age, especially in heavily populated areas where families would be living in one or two rooms in very close proximity to each other. Scarlatina (Scarlet Fever) is a bacterial infection caused by Group A Streptococcus.

Strep commonly causes a variety of infections including very sore throats and skin infections and certain strep bacteria can release a toxin which results in the rash which produces very red skin, hence the ‘Scarlet’

Usually in health children and early teens the infection is not serious and is usually cleared quickly with antibiotics.

Group A strep lives in the nose and throat and is spread by contact with drops from coughs and sneezes. As with any virus and bacteria, if you then touch your own mouth, nose and eyes, you may be infected. You may also pick up the infection from the area of skin where the rash has erupted. You can also pick up if you drink from the same glass or other items that have come into contact with an infected person.

Some of the symptoms to look out for

  • The first signs are similar to a cold or the flu, with a high temperature, chills and possibly stomach cramps.
  • The tongue may be white and be a little swollen or have a red lumpy appearance.
  • The throat will be sore and it may be difficult to swallow.
  • It is common to have a white area around the mouth but very flushed cheeks.
  • Within two days the tell tale rash appears but in some cases it can also appear before the first symptoms or up to a week later. This causes confusion when trying to diagnose the illness.
  • The rash is usually noticed first on the neck and in warm moist areas of the body such as the crease under your stomach, the groin area or under your arms. They will appear as small flat blotches that become small bumps and feel rough to the touch.
  • The rash begins to fade after about 7 days and you will notice peeling of the skin which can last some time.
  • Normally a person suffering from diagnosed Scarlet Fever will be treated with a 10 day course of antibiotics.

It is difficult to prevent children from catching the disease especially in a kindergarten or school environment where they are in close contact and also not perhaps as aware of sneezing over each other and washing their hands often.

The key to avoiding the infection is to wash hands frequently and to avoid sharing items that might be infected.

If you think that you have Scarlet Fever then contact your doctor and and ask for advice and possibly a home visit, since going into a surgery waiting room full of people, especially if they are already unwell or elderly is not going to be helpful

Here are extracts from some of the recent articles on Scarlet Fever and I particularly suggest you read them in full if you have children who might be at risk.

What is slapped cheek syndrome? As cases of scarlet fever hit their highest levels since the 1960s, we reveal another possible cause of red cheeks

  • Official figures have repeatedly shown that cases of scarlet fever are soaring
  • Cases of the ‘Victorian’ disease are at the highest levels since the 1960s
  • Public Health England last week called for parents to be aware of the infection
  • However, many are unaware of other bugs that can lead to the tell-tale rash
  • Slapped cheek syndrome is just one infection that can cause the red cheeks

Read the complete article:

Which region is being hit hardest by scarlet fever? Map reveals the spread of the ‘Victorian’ diseases amid highest level of cases in 50 years

  • Some 15,549 have been struck down by the ‘Victorian’ infection so far this year
  • This is almost double the 8,728 cases in the first 13 weeks of 2016, figures show
  • 2016 was considered the worst year for scarlet fever in more than five decades

Check the most hit areas in the UK:

Warning for parents as scarlet fever cases hit level `not seen since 1982´

  • There were 1,624 cases in the most recent week, up to April 1, with a spike of 2,105 cases the week before.
  • The latest Health Protection Report also showed 11,982 cases of scarlet fever were reported from mid-September to March, compared to an average of 4,480 for the same period over the last five years.
  • The first signs of scarlet fever can be flu-like symptoms, including a high temperature of 38C or above and swollen neck glands.
  • A rash, which looks like sunburn and feels like sandpaper, usually appears a few days later.
  • Those thought to have it should contact their GP, as early treatment with antibiotics is important and can help reduce the risk of complications such as pneumonia and the spread of the infection.
  • Children or adults diagnosed with scarlet fever are advised to stay at home until at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment to avoid spreading it to others.

Read the whole article:

A little bit about me nutritionally.

A little about me from a nutritional perspective. Although I write a lot of fiction, I actually wrote my first two books on health, the first one, Size Matters, a weight loss programme 20 years ago. I qualified as a nutritional therapist and practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as being a consultant for radio. My first centre was in Ireland, the Cronin Diet Advisory Centre and my second book, Just Food for Health was written as my client’s workbook. Here are my health books including a men’s health manual and my anti-aging book.

All available in Ebook from

And Amazon UK:

Comprehensive guide to the body, and the major organs and the nutrients needed to be healthy 360 pages, A4:

Thank you for dropping in and if you have any questions fire away.. If you would like to as a private question then my email is I am no longer in practice and only too pleased to help in any way I can. thanks Sally

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22 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Health Column – Health in the News – Scarlet Fever Cases Rocket.

    • Awful Jane.. and the trouble is that now it is not as common the symptoms are being missed or just put down to colds and flu. Let us hope it gets nipped in the bud, but it means parents have to be clued in and quarantine a child as soon as possible. One of the issues that is not meant to be controversial is that today many more mums are out to work too.. and I am sure a lot more children get sent to school with colds and flu that might be more serious as there is no options to keep them at home! xxx


  1. Pingback: Smorgasbord Health: Scarlet Fever Cases Rocket. – The Militant Negro™

    • Looking at the trend it certainly seems to be on the increase and I would say that in cities with high pupil numbers per class would be hot zones. Trouble is it starts off looking like a cold and some symptoms might be mild and the child will pass it along over a period of days. It is adults that are a bigger risk as it can lead to some long term health issues.

      Liked by 1 person

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