Scarlet fever is a seasonal infection that is common at this time of the year. According to Public Health England 9,887 cases have been reported since mid September 2018. This is down on previous years, however is still a high enough number to advise parents to be aware of the symptoms.
What is Scarlet Fever?
Scarlet fever is a highly contagious infection that mostly affects young children (most commonly between 2-8). Adults can be affected, but it is rare. It is caused by the group A streptococcus pyogenes bacteria which are found on the skin and in the throat. Scarlet fever can be spread by breathing in bacteria in airborne droplets from a persons coughs or sneezes, sharing contaminated fabrics such as towels or bedding or sharing cutlery. It can also be spread by touching the skin of someone with Impetigo (a skin infection caused by group A Streptococcus)
What should I look for?
Usually the first symptom of Scarlet fever is a sore throat and flu like symptoms, followed by a high temperature (38.3C or above) and swollen lymph nodes (lumps either side of the neck)
A few days after infection has set in a characteristic pink rash appears, it usually starts on the chest and stomach and spreads from there. It doesn't usually affect the face, though the face will look flushed from the fever.
The rash is rough to touch and looks a bit like sunburn.
A white coating appears on the tongue (strawberry tongue) it then peels and leaves the tongue red and swollen.
What should you do?
Firstly, Don't panic, Scarlet Fever is much less serious than it used to be thanks to the availability of antibiotics.
With treatment it is unlikely complications will develop however there is a slight chance infection can spread and cause a more serious infection such as an ear infection, sinus infection or pneumonia. People who develop scarlet fever following an impetigo infection are more likely to develop complications.
In extremely rare cases when left untreated Scarlet Fever can cause, blood poisoning, rheumatic fever or meningitis.
You should go back to your GP if the infection hasn't cleared up 1 week after starting treatment.
Or if the child becomes ill again after Scarlet fever has cleared up.
1st March, Self Injury Awareness Day.
According to the Office of National Statistics, poisoning was the second most common cause of suicide in 2016.
Not all poisonings are intentional, in 2013-2014 almost 150,000 people were admitted to hospital with poisoning in England (NHS England) Knowing what to do in the event of a poisoning could make a difference.
First things first, there are lots of different ways in which a person can become poisoned. These are
Symptoms will vary based on method of entry but can include:
What to do
CHECK FOR DANGERS - the person may not want your help or the environment could be dangerous if for example the poison has been inhaled. You should not put yourself in danger, call the professionals instead.
If the person is not seriously ill call 111 for advice
If the person is vomiting, drowsy or confused or having breathing difficulties call 999 and follow their advice.
DO NOT try to make them sick of they have ingested poison - if the poison is corrosive it will cause more damage on the way up.
If you think the poison might be on the persons skin try to wear gloves if they are available, if not try to protect your skin if you need to touch them.
If you need to administer Basic Life Support you should make sure you have adequate protection when giving rescue breaths.
We are asked this question a lot, many people think heart attack and cardiac arrest are the same when in reality they're very different.
While heart attack can lead into a cardiac arrest the starting point for the two are vastly different.
Heart attack is a circulation problem where the blood can't get around the body as easily because a blood clot or narrowed artery is stopping the heart from working effectively. As often the blood can continue to travel around the body to some extent, people can remain conscious and continue to breathe though this will become difficult and often people will experience symptoms such as dizziness and feelings of faintness among other things.
You can read more about heart attacks here
Cardiac arrest is an electrical problem. Your heart works on electrical impulses to make it beat in the correct order to move the blood around the body. In the case of a cardiac arrest the electrical impulses have come out of sync or have stopped completely. When this happens no oxygen can get around your body to your brain and you will become unconscious and stop breathing very quickly.
In either of these situations you should call 999 for an ambulance if they are breathing and awake sit them in the W position and take advice from ambulance control.
If they are not breathing start CPR