Health chiefs are warning parents to be extra vigilant about the signs and symptoms of scarlet fever in their children - after a recent spike in reported cases of the infection.
The illness - which is common in March and April - can be identified by a pink rash, sore throat, fever and headaches.
According to Public Health England (PHE): “Following the substantial elevation in scarlet fever notifications in the last two seasons, indications from the early part of this 2015/16 season continue to show elevated levels with current weekly totals exceeding the record levels seen at this point last season (2014/15).”
The infection, which commonly affects young children, generally responds to a course of antibiotics and clears up within a week - but may lead to complications if left untreated.
Dr Theresa Lamagni, head of streptococcal infection surveillance at PHE, said: “Individuals who think they or their child may have scarlet fever should see their GP without delay as antibiotic treatment is needed.
“As scarlet fever is highly contagious, children or adults diagnosed with it are advised to stay at home until at least 24 hours after the start of antibiotic treatment to avoid passing on the infection.”
She reinforced the importance of good hand hygiene at home and at school to tackle the illness.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1) Make our website your homepage
2) Like our Facebook page
3) Follow us on Twitter
4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!
Always the first with your local news.
Be part of it.