Group A Strep

As your GP, we are keen to support you in managing sore throats and illnesses this winter. You may have been alarmed by recent national media coverage of Strep A and Scarlet Fever. Please do not panic. The current levels of Strep A infection are not significantly higher than previous years: We are just seeing a peak of infections in December rather than the spring as normal.

Strep A is a really common bug. 1 in 5 children carry this bug in their throats as a normal and healthy part of their flora. It is only when Strep A gets into the wrong place and causes sepsis that we have a problem. Importantly there is usually no benefit in swabbing the throats of people with mild symptoms as 1 in 5 will be positive from Strep A – this is normal. Most sore throats are also best managed without antibiotics. 

The following extract is from the NICE CKS Website – Sore throat – acute | Health topics A to Z | CKS | NICE

  • Sore throat due to a viral or bacterial cause is a self-limiting condition. Symptoms resolve within 3 days in 40% of people, and within 1 week in 85% of people, irrespective of whether or not the sore throat is due to a streptococcal infection.

What we are really keen to emphasise is that a sore throat alone is not a problem but sepsis is. Sepsis occurs when bacteria gets into the blood system. People and children with sepsis may:

  1. Have a fever (over 38 degrees C) but with cold hands/feet
  2. Be drowsy, un-rousable or floppy (high risk symptoms – please seek help immediately) 
  3. Confusion or disorientation (high risk symptoms – please seek help immediately)
  4. Look unwell, mottled or pale
  5. Maybe breathing quickly or working hard to breathe (sucking in between their ribs or under their ribs)
  6. May not be passing urine as often as normal
  7.  May have a fast heart rate.

In general, unwell children will not be playing, running around, smiling or eating normally. 

We do highly recommend downloading the HANDi App from the NHS to help manage your kids illness and to help you know when to seek help. 

HANDi Paediatric on the App Store (

HANDi Paediatric – Apps on Google Play


With best wishes

Tavyside Health Centre

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