County Durham mum's warning to fellow parents as son bedridden with scarlet fever

Joanne Rutter (L) and her son Hayden, 15, who came down with scarlet fever. <i>(Image: NORTHERN ECHO)</i>
Joanne Rutter (L) and her son Hayden, 15, who came down with scarlet fever. (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

A County Durham mum has issued a warning to fellow parents after her 15-year-old son was left unable to eat after he caught scarlet fever.

Joanne Rutter knew her 15-year-old son Hayden was unwell when he woke her in the night complaining of a fever and sore throat, and recorded a temperature of over 100 Fahrenheit.

Hayden, who is a student at Wolsingham School which has confirmed ‘several’ cases of scarlet fever among its students, has been left in bed struggling to eat and drink.

Read more: Two cases of Strep A confirmed at North East school as parents issued guidance

Joanne, 43, a stay-at-home mum told The Echo: “He’s not a sick child so I knew something was up when he woke me in the night.

The Northern Echo: Hayden,15, came down with scarlet fever.
The Northern Echo: Hayden,15, came down with scarlet fever.

Hayden,15, came down with scarlet fever. (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

“At first when I rang 111 then my GP they just kept saying it was covid because of he had a headache, fever, and sore throat, but when I eventually got him seen we were told he has scarlet fever and that he’s contagious.

“It was a bit of a shock because you don’t hear of people getting scarlet fever anymore. He has been so unwell - we’ve really had a nightmare.

“Hayden’s on antibiotics now and he’s up and about but he’s been in bed unable to eat or drink and struggling breathing. I’ve never known him to be so ill.

“His tonsils were so red raw he couldn’t swallow and his tongue was swollen it was bright red with spots. He had no energy at all.”

The Northern Echo: Joanne Rutter
The Northern Echo: Joanne Rutter

Joanne Rutter (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

In a statement released on Friday (December 2) Wolsingham School said: “The School is aware of several reported probable cases of Scarlet Fever in its community.

“The school and trust have informed parents of the reported cases and are following the guidance of health protection teams to effectively managing the situation.”

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Joanne added: “Just be vigilant and trust your instincts. When we rang 111 they were adamant it was just covid because of his symptoms but I knew it was something worse. Then it’s really hard to get an appointment anywhere because they think you’re contagious.

"We're now staying at home and we haven't been able to see our 19-year-old daughter who lives in a care home since November 22 for fear of passing it on to her."

The Northern Echo: Hayden's tongue was bright and covered in spots.
The Northern Echo: Hayden's tongue was bright and covered in spots.

Hayden's tongue was bright and covered in spots. (Image: NORTHERN ECHO)

There has been a massive jump in the number of scarlet fever cases in the UK, with 851 cases reported in the week November 14 to 20, compared to an average of 186 for the same timeframe in previous years.

Downing Street has warned parents to be on the lookout for strep A infection which can cause scarlet fever.

A five-year-old child at a Belfast primary school has become the latest child to die following a reported case of strep A, meaning at least nine children are known to have died with the infection since September.

Local health protection teams can give antibiotics to groups of children where there has been a Strep A outbreak, the deputy director of the UKHSA has said.

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