- Claire Nevinson shares the symptoms of a Strep A infection to look out for, what to do if a parent spots them in their child as well as how to prevent the spread of Strep A
Boots Superintendent Pharmacist is sharing her advice on how parents can spot the signs of Group A Strep, following a rise in cases among children in the UK.
What are the symptoms to look out for?
“Group A Strep usually causes a mild illness with fever and a sore throat, often called a Strep Throat, but not a runny nose and, usually, not much of a cough. Your child may be poorly for a few days but will usually recover with rest at home and medicines such as paracetamol, to relieve their symptoms. In more severe cases, antibiotics are sometimes prescribed.
“Group A Strep can cause Scarlet Fever. The symptoms of Scarlet Fever are a sore throat, headache, and fever along with a fine pinkish or red body rash with tiny rough pimples. On darker skin, the rash can be more difficult to see, but the skin will have a sandpapery feel. They may also have a very red tongue or lips.”
Strep A can cause a rare, more serious infection called Invasive Group A Strep and this occurs when the bacteria get into parts of the body, like the lungs or bloodstream, where it causes serious disease, which requires urgent medical attention.
What to do if you spot these symptoms and what to do if the symptoms worsen?
“You should contact NHS 111 or your GP if you are worried your child has Scarlet Fever because early treatment with antibiotics is important to reduce the risk of complications. If your child has Scarlet Fever you should keep them at home until at least 24 hours after their antibiotic treatment has started to avoid spreading the infection to other people.
“If your child is unwell and is getting worse, is feeding or eating much less than normal, has a temperature of 38°C or higher if under 3 months old or a temperature of 39°C or higher if over 3 months old, shows signs of dehydration or is very tired or irritable, you should contact NHS 111 or your GP, even if they are on treatment for an infection or have already finished a course of antibiotics.
“You should call 999 or go to A&E if your child is having difficulty breathing, there are pauses when your child breathes, your child is floppy and will not wake up or stay awake or if your child’s skin, tongue or lips are blue or grey – on black or brown skin this might be easier to see on the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.”
How to help prevent the spread
“Good hygiene measures are really important for reducing the spread of any bacteria and viruses. By teaching your child how to wash their hands properly with soap for 20 seconds, using a tissue to catch coughs and sneezes and keeping away from others when they are unwell, they will be able to reduce the risk of picking up or spreading infections.”