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What Is Strep A And What Are The Symptoms?

Streptococcus A, which is otherwise known as Strep A. Strep A is a common type of bacteria in the mouth and on the skin is Group A Streptococcus (GAS) and disease can be caused by these bacteria in some circumstances.

A GAS infection is typically characterised by a mild sore throat ('strep throat) and skin/soft tissue infections, such as impetigo and cellulitis.

Many of us carry it in our throats and on our skin, but it doesn't always cause illness. GAS does, however, cause a number of infections, some mild and some more severe. Most strep A infections can be easily treated with antibiotics.

If you or your child has a strep A infection, you should stay away from nursery, school or work for 24 hours after you start taking antibiotics, or until you feel better and your symptoms have gone. This will help stop the infection from spreading to other people.

What Is Strep A And What Are The Symptoms?
Scarlet Fever starts with a red rush and the strawberry tongue. Afterwards, the affected skin often peels. Here red skin rush.

Serious Cases Strep A

Invasive group A strep, also known as iGAS, is the most serious infection associated with GAS. Often, these infections occur when bacteria enter parts of the body where they shouldn't be, such as the lungs or bloodstream. An iGAS infection can be fatal in rare cases. Although iGAS infections are still uncommon, there has been an increase in cases this year, especially among children under 10.

How is Strep A spread?

A person infected with Strep A can spread the infection through coughing and sneezing or by touching a wound which is why people are being asked to stay away from nursery, schools and work until they are being treated with antibiotics.

A person can have the bacteria present in their body without feeling unwell or showing any signs of infection, and while they can pass it on, infection risk is much higher when a person is unwell.

Which infections does GAS cause?

Skin, soft tissue, and respiratory tract infections can be caused by GAS. Among others, it causes tonsillitis, pharyngitis, scarlet fever, impetigo, and cellulitis.

It is important to note that infections like these are rarely serious, despite their unpleasant nature. Within 24 hours of starting antibiotics, an unwell person with a mild illness like tonsillitis stops being contagious.

What will make you more at risk of strep A infections?

  • a weakened immune system

  • open sores or wounds

  • some viral infections, such as a cold or flu

Scarlet Fever Cases on the Rise

Scarlet fever is characterised by flu-like symptoms, including high temperatures, sore throats, and swollen neck glands.

After 12 to 48 hours, a rash appears. It appears as small, raised bumps on the chest and tummy, then spreads. Your skin feels rough, like sandpaper, as a result of the rash. Darker skin will show less rash, but it will still feel like sandpaper. Scarlet fever information, including photos, can be found on the NHS website.

What is being done to investigate the rise in Strep A cases in children?

Recent reports of severe illness caused by Group A Strep infections in children's lower respiratory tracts are now being investigated but as of now there is no evidence of a new strain circulating, and it is likely that the rise in cases is being caused by an increase in circulating bacteria.

At present, there is no way to know what is causing these infections to occur at higher rates than usual. It is likely the result of a combination of factors, such as an increase in social mixing and an increase in other respiratory viruses.

What to watch out for?

It’s always concerning when your child is unwell. GAS infections cause various symptoms such as sore throat, fever, chills and muscle aches and in most cases, you can keep your child at home and keep them dosed up. However, if you feel your child is worsening then trust your own judgement and either:

  • Speak to your doctor

  • Speak to a pharmacist

  • Call NHS 111

  • Call 999 if your child is extremely unwell

The Flowers Day Nursery

The Flowers are following local guidance and asking that if your child is experiencing any symptoms of Strep A or Scarlet Fever they stay at home until symptoms have gone or 24 hours after the start of antibiotics.

To manage any outbreaks and incidents in our nursery we are carrying out increased, vigorous cleaning throughout the day, especially on hand contact surfaces.

How can we stop infections from spreading?

For preventing the spread of many bugs, good hand and respiratory hygiene is essential. If your child learns how to wash their hands properly with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, use tissues to catch coughs and sneezes and keep away from others when feeling unwell, they will be less likely to pick up an infection. We are also teaching this to the children in our nursery.

If you are at all concerned about your child, their symptoms and if they should be in the nursery with us, give us a call on 01792 46 44 45 and one of our team can advise.

If you are looking for a nursery place for your child in Swansea then contact us to arrange a visit to our outstanding and caring nursery.

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