Urgent warning to parents amid rise in Covid, flu and scarlet fever – all the signs you must know

PARENTS have been urged to keep an eye out for winter sickness as children return to school this week.

Cases of Covid and the flu are circulating at high levels across the UK.

Experts have urged parents to get their children vaccinated against the flu if they are eligible


Experts have urged parents to get their children vaccinated against the flu if they are eligiblePhoto credit: Getty

Medics today warned these levels will continue to rise, along with high numbers of scarlet fever, caused by group A streptococcus, also being reported.

The warning comes as NHS data shows thousands of beds are occupied by flu patients.

Covid cases have also risen, with hospital admissions rising from the start.

For the past week, 3,746 patients have been hospitalized with the flu every day, figures show.

At least 30 children have also died from invasive Strep A since September.

The UK Health Safety Authority (UKHSA) said infections remain rare and the majority of cases continue to occur in those over 45.

The data showed an “out of season increase” in Strep A and scarlet fever infections and a higher number of cases of both diseases than in a typical year.

There were 33,836 reports of scarlet fever this season, compared to 4,672 at the same time in 2017-18.

Prof Susan Hopkins, UKHSA’s chief medical adviser, said today it was important to minimize the spread of infection in schools and other educational settings.

She said if your child is unwell and has a fever, they should stay home from school or daycare until they are feeling better and the fever has gone down.

It’s also important to help children learn the importance of good hand hygiene, so practice washing your hands regularly with soap and warm water at home.

“Catching coughs and sneezes in tissues and then disposing of them is another easy way to stop the spread of disease.

“Adults should also try to stay at home if they are unwell and wear a face covering if they have to go out. If you are unwell, do not visit health facilities unless it is urgent, or visit vulnerable people,” she added.

dr Ramsay said flu vaccines remain appropriate for all groups, adding that it is the best way to protect yourself from the vaccine.

“We have seen good uptake in older age groups, but vaccination among young children remains low.

“The flu can be very uncomfortable and in some cases lead to a more serious illness. Vaccinating your child will protect them and others they come into contact with, and it’s not too late.”


When it comes to flu symptoms, they can seem like a common cold at first.

The NHS lists the symptoms for flu as follows:

  1. sudden high temperature
  2. aching body
  3. feeling tired or exhausted
  4. a dry cough
  5. Sore throat
  6. headache
  7. difficult sleeping
  8. loss of appetite
  9. diarrhea or abdominal pain
  10. feel sick or be sick
  11. less active (especially children)
  12. Pain in the ear (especially children)


The latest data from the ZOE Health study says there are ten symptoms most Brits suffer from.

They are:

  1. Sore throat
  2. a runny nose
  3. a stuffy nose
  4. Sneeze
  5. a cough without phlegm
  6. headache
  7. a cough with phlegm
  8. a hoarse voice
  9. muscle aches and pains
  10. an altered sense of smell.

Scarlet fever

The NHS says that if your child has scarlet fever, it is most likely to start with cold-like symptoms.

Signs include:

  1. high temperature
  2. Sore throat
  3. swollen cervical glands
  4. Rash 12-48 hours after the first symptoms. This usually starts in the abdomen and then spreads
  5. white coating on the tongue
  6. Red cheeks

Strep A

According to the NHS, there are four key signs of group strep A to look out for. These are:

  1. Fever (ie a high temperature above 38°C)
  2. Severe muscle pain
  3. Localized muscle tenderness
  4. Redness at the site of a wound

The invasive version of the disease occurs when the bacteria breach the body’s immune defenses.

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This can happen if you are already unwell or have a weakened immune system.

Two of the most serious examples of invasive diseases are necrotizing fasciitis – a very rare but life-threatening infection also known as “flesh-eating disease” – and toxic shock syndrome.

https://www.the-sun.com/health/7034467/urgent-warning-parents-covid-flu-scarlet-fever-signs/ Urgent warning to parents amid rise in Covid, flu and scarlet fever – all the signs you must know

Emma James

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