How does Strep A spread? Is there a Strep A test? Is Scarlet Fever the same as Strep A? Is Scarlet Fever a serious Illness? What are Strep A and Scarlet Fever’s Symptoms? VSM Pharmacy provides you with some answers.

Anyone who has been watching the news recently will know about the outbreak of the Strep A infection currently affecting children and adults in the UK.

Strep A is a bacteria that gets into the throat and tonsils and usually presents itself as a mild illness that starts with a sore throat. Unfortunately, it can also cause severe infections which is what has happened across the UK in recent weeks.

How does Strep A spread?

It is spread through contact with other people. If you have been hugging, kissing or had any type of skin contact with an infected person you will be at risk of catching the infection.

Is there a Strep A test?

Yes. You can buy a Strep A self-testing kit from us here at VSM pharmacy Camberley. All you need to do is swab your throat and wait a few minutes for the results. Using the kit means you will know immediately whether you need to see your doctor or pharmacist for medication. You can buy it at the pharmacy or from our online store.

Strep A and Scarlet Fever Symptoms

One of the first symptoms can be feeling as if you are coming down with the flu, with a temperature, swollen glands, an aching body, and a sore throat. You might also get a soft tissue infection such as impetigo, which gives you sores and scabs or cellulitis, which makes your skin swollen and painful.

Another common variant of Strep A is scarlet fever. A scarlet fever rash will normally appear between 12 to 48 hours after you begin to feel unwell. You’ll get a pink or red rash on your tummy or your chest which feels like sandpaper and will start to spread. You’ll need antibiotics to treat scarlet fever. Scarlet Fever is most common in children, and they will usually have what is called strawberry tongue. Their tongue will be swollen and bumpy with red and white patches. If your child has strawberry tongue you must see a doctor.

If you or your child have any of the above symptoms with a temperature of above 39C, or 38C in babies up to 3 months and they appear to be getting worse rather than better, then you need to see your doctor. If your child is having trouble breathing, then get to your nearest hospital’s emergency department as soon as possible as they might have invasive Strep A.

Is Scarlet Fever the same as Strep A?

Yes. They are the same condition. Small, raised bumps will appear on the skin that starts on the chest or stomach and then begins to spread. Your skin won’t be smooth it will feel rough, a lot like sandpaper feels. You don’t normally get a rash on your face but you or your child could have very red cheeks. Scarlet fever is treated with antibiotics.

Is Strep A / Scarlet Fever contagious?

Yes, it is very contagious and easily passed from one person to another if there has been close contact. If you catch the disease from someone else, it normally takes around 2 to 5 days to develop symptoms after exposure to the bacteria.

Is Scarlet Fever a serious Illness?

Unfortunately, as of December 2022, there have been 19 deaths in the UK caused by Strep A / Scarlet Fever. It can be a serious illness in children and that’s why it is important to be vigilant.

Use a Strep A test before a rash appears to enable you to take appropriate action quickly.

Mild Strep A symptoms

If you or your child have mild symptoms, then you can use paracetamol or Ibuprofen for children which you can get at the pharmacy.

How is Strep A treated?

If you have seen a doctor, then it is likely that they will prescribe antibiotics and you’ll be told to stay away from school or work for at least 24 hours after you start taking the antibiotics.

This will stop you from spreading the infection to other people.

What about the shortages of antibiotics?

There have been some shortages of named antibiotics, but here at the pharmacy, we will do our best to source the medication you need. We also have a wide range of vitamins and probiotics to help you recover faster.

How to avoid infections

Bacterial infections can be avoided if you wash your hands regularly with warm, soapy water, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue if you cough or sneeze and dispose of used tissues as soon as you can.

Remember, if you are worried about Strep A symptoms you can buy the test to find out whether or not you have the condition. If you or your child develop a rash, check the NHS website for advice.

Worried about Strep A or Scarlet fever?

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