Group A streptococcus (GAS) is a common bacteria. Lots of us carry it in our throats and on our skin and it doesn’t always result in illness. However, GAS does cause several infections, some mild and some more serious.
The most serious infections linked to GAS come from invasive group A strep, known as iGAS.
These infections are caused by the bacteria getting into parts of the body where it is not normally found, such as the lungs or bloodstream. In rare cases an iGAS infection can be fatal.
What should parents look out for?
It’s always concerning when a child is unwell. GAS infections cause various symptoms such as sore throat, fever, chills, and muscle aches.
As a parent, if you feel that your child seems seriously unwell, you should trust your own judgement.
Contact NHS 111 or your GP if:
your child is getting worse
your child is feeding or eating much less than normal
your child has had a dry nappy for 12 hours or more or shows other signs of dehydration
your baby is under three months and has a temperature of 38C, or is older than 3 months and has a temperature of 39C or higher
your baby feels hotter than usual when you touch their back or chest, or feels sweaty
your child is very tired or irritable
Call 999 or go to A&E if:
your child is having difficulty breathing – you may notice grunting noises or their tummy sucking under their ribs
there are pauses when your child breathes
your child’s skin, tongue or lips are blue
your child is floppy and will not wake up or stay awake