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Health officials launch Strep A symptom checker as calls to NHS 111 Wales double

15 Dec 2022 2 minute read
Photo by Victoria Model from Pixabay

Public Health Wales has launched a new symptoms checker tool to help parents spot the signs of Strep A.

It is hoped it will help parents decide when to treat their child at home and when it is appropriate to seek medical advice.

The move follows an escalation in the number of calls to NHS 111 Wales last weekend. There were over 18,000 calls – more than double the calls received on the same weekend last year.

A significant proportion of these were from parents of children aged 12 years old and under and from those concerned about sore throats and throat problems.

The new symptoms checker takes the form of a traffic light showing parents when it is safe to treat a child at home and at what stage they should consider calling NHS 111 Wales or their GP.

The new symptom checker launched by Public Health Wales

Dr Graham Brown, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health Wales, said: “We understand that parents are likely to be worried by reports they are seeing related to rising cases of scarlet fever and we want to reassure them that it is still usually a mild illness from which most children will recover without complications, especially if the condition is properly treated with antibiotics.

“In very rare cases, group A streptococcal infection can cause iGAS, a rare complication which usually affects fewer than 20 children in Wales each year.  Although iGAS is a worrying condition, the majority of these children will recover with proper treatment.

“The best thing that parents can do to protect their children is to use the traffic light symptom checker tool and follow the appropriate advice.  It’s also important that parents ensure their child gets their flu vaccine this year because catching flu can increase the chances of becoming severely unwell with secondary infections like Strep A.”

Public Health Wales says it has been been notified of fewer than five deaths in children under the age of 15 in whom iGAS was detected since 1 September 2022.

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