Strep A: Essex mum says son, 11, has been misdiagnosed with Covid

How do I test my child for Strep A?

dr Nicole Robb, a professor at the Universities of Oxford and Warwick and co-founder of health technology company Pictura Bio, told that the only way to get tested at the moment is through a naturopath or GP.

“We’re all familiar with the Covid rapid antigen tests, but you can’t just get these in a pharmacy,” she said.

“You have to see a doctor to get them. Again, similar to Covid, you can have your throat swabbed, which will take a day or two for it to come back.

“What is missing is any form of community or home testing. One of the things we’ve seen during the pandemic is how amazing it is to have access to lateral flow testing.

“If you suspect your child has a disease, you can test them and get an answer within 20 minutes. But we don’t have that. We need to push these technologies forward, like we did during Covid.’

What about at-home testing kits?

Home test kits for Strep A can be bought online for as little as £8.99 but tend to sell out.

Given the sharp rise in cases, Dr. Robb urged people to get advice from the NHS instead of trying to diagnose themselves.

“A doctor will be able to use a variety of tests to confirm his diagnosis and will also be able to promptly prescribe antibiotics if needed,” she said.

“Early treatment of scarlet fever with antibiotics is important to reduce the risk of more serious complications.”

When should parents seek medical advice?

Knowing the symptoms of scarlet fever is the most important thing for parents, especially those with young children.

Contact NHS 111 or your GP if you suspect your child has developed it.

Call 999 or go to the emergency room if your child is having trouble breathing, your child’s skin, tongue, or lips are blue, or your child is limp and won’t wake up or stay awake.

Who is most vulnerable?

Strep A is more likely to occur in children than in adults, especially those who attend school or daycare.

dr Robb stressed that being together in close quarters can aid transmission.

She said children may also be more susceptible after being ill with a viral infection such as chickenpox.

Should I be worried as a parent? What should I do?

UKHSA confirmed that there is currently no evidence of a new strain in circulation.

When asked whether children need to be isolated at home during the outbreak, Dr. Robb said the country is “nowhere near that stage” and urged people not to panic.

“Don’t keep your child home if they’re healthy,” she added. “Just use caution and common sense.

“Know what the symptoms are and what to look out for, but don’t panic unnecessarily.”

Downing Street has also urged parents to be on the lookout, but stressed the NHS is “well prepared” for such situations.

Why is it becoming more of an issue this year?

dr Robb said: “We are seeing higher levels of scarlet fever than normal. This can have many different reasons.

“It could be due to the arrival of colder winter weather and people are spending more time mingling indoors and that’s increasing transmission.

“For the last three years of Covid, people have mainly been confined inside, wearing masks.

“Not only has that stopped the spread of Covid, but other common respiratory diseases like Strep A. If the bugs aren’t spreading as normal, it just means our immunity as a population has dropped.”

Is there a shortage of antibiotics?

A Downing Street spokesman said there were no known current shortages of the antibiotic amoxicillin. Strep A: Essex mum says son, 11, has been misdiagnosed with Covid

Justin Scacco

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