Nasty chickenpox and scarlet fever ‘cocktail’ warning as rashes spread

A nasty "cocktail" of chickenpox and scarlet fever is sweeping through schools in England.

Parents have been warned of a spike in infections among kids coming down with a bright red rash, sore throat and high fever.

The combination of chickenpox and scarlet fever is so far proving to be a typically mild illness but at it is highly infectious the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) advises parents to be wary of symptoms.

The most common signs of the so-called "cocktail" are a sore throat, headache and fever with a characteristic fine, pinkish or red body rash with a sandpapery feel.

If signs of scarlet fever are suspected, it is important to contact your local GP or NHS 111, the Mirror reports.

Early medical intervention of scarlet fever is important as it helps to reduce the risk of complications such as pneumonia and the spread of the infection to others.

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 the infection to others.

Dominic Mellon, Deputy Director of Health Protection at UKHSA South West said: "It's not uncommon to see a rise in cases of scarlet fever at this time of year and we are continuing to monitor rates of infection.

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"Scarlet fever is highly contagious but not usually serious and is easily treatable with antibiotics.

"It is important to take antibiotics, if prescribed by a GP, to minimise the risk of complications and spread to others.

"We are reminding parents and carers to be aware of the symptoms of scarlet fever and to call their GP or NHS 111 for further advice or assessment if they think their child might have it.

"Symptoms to look out for include a fever, sore throat and a pinkish-red rash with sandpapery feel.

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"To limit the spread of scarlet fever it is important to practice good hygiene by washing hands with warm water and soap, not sharing drinking glasses or utensils, and covering the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing."

Chickenpox, another highly infectious disease, is caused by the varicella zoster virus, and presents itself with a characteristic rash, with vesicles on the face, spreading down over the body to the arms and legs.

It is generally mild in healthy children but can prove more severe in pregnant women and immuno-suppressed individuals.

Children with chickenpox should remain at home until they are better and the rash has gone.

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