Scarlet fever is an infectious disease caused by a type of bacteria known as haemolytic streptococci.
It is fairly uncommon nowadays and most cases are quite mild. It generally affects younger children but people of all ages can catch it.
If you have had contact with the bacteria it usually takes a few days before you start showing symptoms.
The main symptom of scarlet fever is a fine rash on the body that feels quite rough and dry, like sandpaper. The high temperature in babies makes the cheeks become flushed but the area around the mouth remains quite pale. Some people develop a white coating on their tongue which leaves the tongue looking red and swollen if you peel it away. This is know as 'strawberry tongue'. You may also have a sore throat, high temperature and a headache.
If scarlet fever is left untreated it may lead to pneumonia but this is very rare. It is usually treated with a short course of antibiotics. Children with scarlet fever should be kept away from other children for five days after the start of treatment to avoid spreading the infection.
There is no evidence to suggest that your baby will be harmed if you catch scarlet fever while you are pregnant. To avoid the symptoms you should stay away from anyone you know to have scarlet fever.