Strep-A and Scarlet Fever

Strep A Information Leaflet

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. People can catch it through close contact and from coughs and sneezes.

There are lots of viruses that cause sore throats, cold and coughs which usually get better without needing any medications.

The scarlet fever rash often begins with small spots on the body that then spread to the neck, arms and legs over the next 1 to 2 days. It is often feels like ‘sandpaper’ but is not itchy.

Your child may also have a:

  • Sore throat or tonsillitis
  • Fever (temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) or above)
  • Painful, swollen glands in the neck
  • A red tongue (strawberry tongue)

Picture credit: Skin Deep


Immediate action required: Call 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


Urgent advice: Contact your GP if:

  • your child is getting worse
  • your child is feeding or eating much less than normal
  • your child has had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more or shows other signs of dehydration
  • your baby is under 3 months and has a temperature of 38°C
  • your baby is older than 3 months and has a temperature of 39°C or higher
  • your baby feels hotter than usual when you touch their back or chest, or feels sweaty
  • your child is very tired or irritable

If your GP is closed, contact the 111 service.

If you feel that your child is seriously unwell, trust your own judgement and seek medical assistance.

You may have seen on social media that you can get a throat swab and antibiotics for your child from your local pharmacist. Please be aware that this service is only available in a very few places in the UK and is not currently available in the West Yorkshire area. If your child has the signs and symptoms.


Links to Further Information and video advice

Information on Group A Strep and Scarlet Fever from Healthier Together

UKHSA update on scarlet fever and invasive Group A strep

NHS guidance on looking after a sick child