What Is Group a Strep Infection?
Have you seen multiple headlines in the news lately, talking about a rise in Strep A cases in the UK? The bacterial illness has sadly resulted in 190 deaths in the UK, including 30 children under 18.
Are you wondering, what is group A Strep infection?
Well, we will outline a few key facts about Strep A in this article, so keep reading to find out more.
What is Group A Strep infection?
So, what is Group A Strep infection?
Strep A refers to Group A Streptococcus (GAS) bacteria found on the skin or throat.
If a person becomes infected with the bacteria, this can cause mild illness, which can be treated with antibiotics. In some cases, the infection can spread throughout the body, which can lead to serious illness and even death.
A person might not realise that they have been infected with Strep A, as they may attribute their symptoms to a common cold, flu, or Covid-19.
Strep A is most common in children between 5 and 15 years old, but it can occur in people of all ages.
What are the symptoms of Strep A?
Here are the common symptoms which indicate a Strep A infection:
- Flu-like symptoms, such as a high temperature, swollen glands or an aching body
- A sore throat(strep throat or tonsillitis)
- Red and swollen tonsils that may show white patches or visible streaks of pus
- Swollen lymph nodes under the jaw
- A rash that feels rough, like sandpaper (scarlet fever)
- Scabs and sores (impetigo)
- Pain and swelling of the skin (cellulitis)
- Severe muscle aches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
How contagious is Strep A?
Strep A is contagious, and it can be passed on from one person to the next. For example, if an infected person sneezes or coughs near someone, or has close contact with them, then they can transfer the Strep A infection to that person. What happens is the bacteria-filled droplets released from sneezing or coughing spray into the air, which can infect somebody else.
You can become infected with Strep A by touching a surface where the bacteria-filled droplets have landed (such as a doorknob or table), and then rubbing your eyes, nose or mouth.
Alternatively, Strep A can spread through kissing an infected person or sharing objects with them, such as a toothbrush, towel, bed linen, spoon, fork or drinking glass.
People are generally no longer considered to be contagious after a full 24 hours of taking treatment for the infection.
How long can strep A last?
Typically, if you don’t take antibiotics, it can take 7 to 10 days to recover from a mild Strep A infection. However, you will recover much quicker if you take antibiotics. That is why we strongly recommend consulting a doctor as early as you can, so they can prescribe you antibiotics to treat the infection.
Group A Strep infections affect people differently, so your recovery time may be shorter or longer, depending on the circumstances.
If you still feel unwell after a week or so, even after taking a course of antibiotics, then you should seek advice from a doctor as soon as possible.
What severe illnesses can Strep A cause?
- Rheumatic fever: a disease that can damage the joints and heart.
- Kidney problems.
- Scarlet Fever: a bacterial illness which leads to a red rash all over the body.
- Cellulitis: a bacterial skin infection.
- Impetigo: a skin infection.
- Necrotizing Fasciitis: a rare ‘flesh-eating disease’ that spreads quickly in the body and can cause death.
Can I test myself for Strep A?
Yes, there is a self-test that you can take, to see if you are infectious with Strep A.
This rapid test detects the presence of group A streptococcal antigen, which causes a number of bacterial infections such as Strep A, Scarlet Fever, Tonsilitis and Impetigo.
So, how do you test for Strep A?
All you have to do is take a throat swab. Then, the test will generate your results in just 10 minutes.
The test has a shelf life of 6 months, so you can have it in your home to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Click here to purchase our Strep A Instant Home Test- and keep yourself and your loved ones safe today.
Should I take my child to a doctor if they catch Strep A?
If you suspect that your child has Strep A, then you should see a doctor as soon as possible. They will provide the appropriate antibiotics and advice.
Keep your child off school or nursery and away from the public for the first few days after becoming infected, to avoid spreading the infection to others. They can return to their normal routine once they have recovered, or at least 24 hours after they have started taking antibiotics.
If your child’s symptoms worsen, then book an urgent GP appointment or call NHS 111, especially if your child:
- is feeding or eating much less than normal.
- has fewer wet nappies than usual or is urinating less than usual, or shows other signs of dehydration.
- has a temperature of 39C or higher.
- is very tired or irritable.
It is serious if your child experiences the following symptoms, so you should call 999 or visit A&E if:
- your child is having difficulty breathing.
- there are pauses when yourchild breathes.
- your child’s skin, tongue or lips are blue or grey.
- your child is floppy and will not wake up or stay awake.
Can babies get Strep A?
Yes, it is possible for babies and toddlers to develop Strep A if they have come into contact with a carrier of the strep-causing bacteria.
If you suspect that your baby has been infected with Strep A, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible.
If you or your partner have developed Strep A, then you should consider wearing a face mask around your baby, until you have taken antibiotics and recovered from the infection.
How to prevent the spread of Strep A:
To minimise the spread of Strep A, follow our advice below:
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
- Catch your sneezes in tissues and dispose of used tissues as soon as possible.
- Wash your hands after sneezing and coughing.
- Wash your hands before and after preparing food or eating.
- Try not to touch your face too often, as an infection can spread this way.
- Take a Strep A test, to detect whether the group A streptococcus bacteria is present in your system.
- Wipe down surfaces that are touched often (such as doorknobs and kitchen counters.)
- If someone in your household becomes unwell and starts displaying any symptoms of Strep A, keep them isolated in their room, away from others, until they have recovered. They should stay off school or work, until at least 24 hours after they have started taking antibiotics.
- Seek medical advice as soon as possible if you or your child become ill with Strep A, as you will most likely need antibiotics to treat the infection.
- Don’t share objects with someone who is infected with Strep A, such as toothbrushes, drinking glasses or cutlery.
- If you have cuts or scrapes on your body, keep these covered and clean, because the Group A Strep bacteria can enter your body through open wounds and subsequently transfer the infection throughout your body, making you severely ill in the process.
- If you have children, encourage them to get a nasal spray flu vaccine, as new research suggests that this may protect them from Group A Strep infection.
ABOUT OFFICIAL RAPID TESTS
At Official Rapid Tests, we are a UK Government listed testing provider. We are a team of medical industry experts, with a combined experience of 40 years in the testing, diagnostic and medical services sector.
With our services, it couldn’t be easier for you to test yourself (or your loved ones) for Covid-19. All you have to do is buy one of our Covid tests, which can be delivered the next day. Alternatively, book a Covid test at one of our test centres, as we have over 120 clinics all over the UK.
Our Covid tests are perfect for use as proof that you have negative Covid status if you are travelling. With every negative result, you will receive a signed note from one of our doctors, declaring that you are Covid-free and fit to travel.
If you are not sure what kind of Covid Test you need, then click here to take our quiz. This will tell you which type of Covid test is suitable based on your travel requirements.
Check out our blog to read more articles about health tests, travel testing, and Covid-19.
Click here to purchase our Strep A Instant Home Test, which tells you if you are infected with Group A Streptococcus bacteria within just 10 minutes of taking the test.
We hope this article has provided the answer to the question ‘what is Group A Strep infection?’