PARENTS in Derbyshire are being warned to watch out for symptoms of scarlet fever in their children after medics recorded an increase in recorded cases of the illness.
Scarlet fever usually occurs in children aged between two and eight and early symptoms include a sore throat, headache, fever, nausea and vomiting.
And 40 cases have so far been reported in Derbyshire since the turn of the year.
To help prevent to infectious disease spreading, public health chiefs have published guidance on how to spot symptoms.
Derbyshire County Council cabinet member for health and communities Dave Allen said: “We want to help prevent anyone catching the disease where it can be avoided and are urging parents with children who display symptoms to seek treatment as soon as possible.
“That’s why we’ve sent through information to local schools and nurseries to give parents the facts about signs to look out for and what they should do if they think their child has caught it.”
After 12-to-48 hours of contracting scarlet fever, a fine red rash develops, which ‘feels like sandpaper to touch’.
According to Derbyshire doctors, the rash usually initally appears on the chest and stomach but then spreads to other parts of the body.
They are warning that, on darker skin, the rash can be harder to spot.
Councillor Allen said: “Other signs include a fever of around 38 degrees Celcius and white coating of the tongue, which peels to leave it looking red and swollen.
“Sufferers also feel tired and generally unwell, with a flushed, red face, but a pale area around the mouth, and see their skin peeling on the fingertips, toes and groin area.”
General medical advice to prevent the spread of infection dictates that good hygiene is a key factor.
Parents caring for children who have contracted scarlet fever are advised to ensure sufferers wach their hands regularly.
They are also advised to not allow children to share cutlery with an infected person and generally avoid contact.
Hankerchiefs and tissues used by infected people should be immediately disposed of.
A Derbyshire County Council spokesman said: “Parents who think their child has scarlet fever should see their GP as soon as possible and make sure their child takes the full course of any antibiotics prescribed by the GP.
“They should keep their child at home, away from nursery or school for at least 24 hours after starting the antibiotic treatment if the illness is confirmed.”
Parents can get free advice about scarlet fever from the NHS 111 telephone healthcare service or find more information from Public Health England by going online and visiting www.hpa.org.uk.