How Does Strep a Get in Your Blood?
Strep A is a contagious bacterial illness, which has sadly caused 94 deaths across England between September and December 2022. After the invasive Strep A bacteria enters the system, it can cause mild symptoms such as a sore throat and fever, but if the infection enters the bloodstream and spreads to the rest of the body, then this can lead to serious complications.
But how does strep A get in your blood? We will answer this question in this article, which we hope you find useful.
What is Strep A?
Strep A refers to Group A Streptococcus (GAS) bacteria found on the skin or throat.
The bacteria 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.
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 that person can also become infected with Strep A. What happens is the bacteria-filled droplets released from sneezing or coughing spray into the air, which can infect somebody else.
You can also catch 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, 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.
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.
What treatment is available for Strep A?
Strep A infections can be treated with antibiotics such as Penicillin or amoxicillin.
Your physician will prescribe the appropriate medication if you or your child has become ill with Strep A.
Taking paracetamol or ibuprofen (or the appropriate equivalent for children) can help ease symptoms.
How does strep A get in your blood?
As we have outlined already, Group A Streptococcus (GAS) bacteria are found on the skin or in the throat, which can lead to mild infections such as strep throat, impetigo, sinusitis or ear infections.
So, how does Strep A get in your blood?
Well, the bacteria that causes Strep A can enter the blood through cuts, grazes and wounds on the skin, as these are areas that can become infected. If you experience swelling, redness, pus, and pain in these areas, then these are signs of infection and you should consult a doctor.
If you do have cuts, scraps, bites or wounds on the skin, make sure these are cleaned and covered, as they can easily become infected with the bacteria that causes Strep A and can lead to serious complications.
Who is more vulnerable to Strep A?
There are certain groups of people who are classed as more vulnerable to Strep A, such as:
- Children who have had chicken pox or flu.
- People with weakened immune systems.
- People with chronic illnesses like HIV, AIDS, or cancer.
- People who have had an organ transplant.
- Those on kidney dialysis.
- Those who use medications such as steroids.
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.
How do I prevent the spread of Strep A infections?
To minimise the spread of Strep A, follow these steps below:
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands after sneezing and coughing.
- Wash your hands before and after preparing food or eating.
- Dispose of used tissues as soon as possible.
- 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 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.
What should I do if I get Strep A?
Take the following steps if you suspect you have become infected with Strep A:
- Take a Strep A test, to check whether you are infectious with Strep A.
- Consult a doctor or medical professional, who can prescribe you antibiotics to treat the infection.
- Seek medical attention if your symptoms worsen, or if they don’t go away after a week.
- Stay home if you can, and avoid mixing with other people, so that you don’t infect them.
- Get plenty of rest, as you may experience symptoms such as a high temperature, sore throat, and body aches.
- Hydrate with plenty of water and fluids, as this enables your blood to circulate more freely, allowing your white blood cells to fight off infection faster.
- Gargle with salt water, to get rid of bacteria in the throat. Children should never do this, however.
- Suck on throat lozenges, to keep the throat moist and soothed.
- Take painkillers to manage headaches and body aches, but never more than the recommended dosage.
- Try eating soft, warm foods, which are easier to handle if you have a sore throat, such as soups, herbal teas and mashed potatoes.
- Don’t resume your daily activities (such as going to the gym or swimming) until you have completely recovered.
- Avoid smoking, or vaping, as these can cause further irritation to a sore throat.
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 ‘how does Strep A get in your blood?’