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Everything You Need to Know About Strep A


Strep A is a common bacterial pathogen that you may have heard of but know nothing about! From strep throat to scarlet fever and impetigo, strep A can cause various infections that range from mild to serious. This is why it is important to recognise symptoms caused by strep A so you can seek medical attention if you need to. In this guide, we cover everything you need to know. From what strep A actually is to how to prevent catching strep A pathogens, learn about the ins and outs of strep A here.

  • What is Strep A?
  • Symptoms of Strep A
  • What is iGAS?
  • Symptoms of iGAS
  • Diagnosing Strep A and Where to Get a Strep Test
  • Treating Strep A
  • Preventing Strep A
  • Check Your Symptoms with Tests From Home Health


What is Strep A?

Strep A, also known as Streptococcus pyogenes or Group A Streptococcus (GAS), are bacteria found on the skin or in the throat that can cause different diseases. These bacterial pathogens are transmitted through respiratory droplets or through direct contact with infected individuals.

Strep A infections are most common in children. In recent years, there has been a spike in the number of strep A related cases in children, so it is imperative that you, as parents, can identify the most common symptoms of strep A infections to seek treatment if needed.

However, strep A infections can also occur in adults, so people without children should also be conscious of any symptoms.


Symptoms of Strep A

Strep A can cause various infections meaning the list of symptoms of strep A related illnesses can vary. Below, we have broken common symptoms down by infection so you can easily recognise the potential illness you or your child might have.

Streptococcal Throat Infection (Strep Throat) and Tonsillitis

  • Sore throat or tonsils
  • Pus on throat or tonsils
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Fever and chills
  • Swollen and tender lymph nodes in the neck
  • Vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain
  • Headache and muscle aches

Scarlet Fever

  • Similar to throat infection symptoms as listed above
  • Pink or red skin rash that typically starts on face and neck
  • Rash feels rough
  • Flushed faced with paleness around the mouth
  • Bright red and bumpy tongue


  • Itchy red skin with blisters that scab
  • Sores around the nose, mouth and legs
  • Swollen and tender lymph nodes
  • Fever


  • Swelling and pain of the skin
  • Redness of the skin
  • Swollen and tender lymph nodes
  • Fever


What is iGAS?

Sometimes, strep A bacteria can cause more serious and potentially life-threatening infections. Serious infections that are caused by strep A bacteria are known as Invasive Group A Streptococcal Disease (iGAS).

iGAS infections commonly occur when strep A bacteria gets into an individual’s body through wounds or sores of an individual and spreads rapidly. This means the bacterial pathogens have penetrated deeper into the body, causing more severe conditions such as bacteremia, meningitis and necrotising fasciitis.

These serious infections commonly occur in the elderly, those who are very young, or people who have a compromised immune system due to chronic illnesses or drug use.


Symptoms of iGAS

The symptoms of iGAS infections vary as there are multiple conditions that can be caused by Strep A bacteria. For example:

  • Pneumonia
  • Bacteraemia or Secpticaemia
  • Meningitis
  • Septic Arthritis
  • Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome
  • Necrotising Fasciitis

Some common symptoms of these iGAS infections include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches and muscle aches
  • Breathlessness and chest pain
  • Vomiting, nausea and abdominal pain
  • Redness and swelling at the site of infection
  • Neck stiffness and light sensitivity


Diagnosing Strep A and Where to Get a Strep Test

Strep A related infections can be easily diagnosed through a throat swab. If you have symptoms of a strep A related infection and go to see your GP, they may offer you a strep test whilst you are there.

There are two forms of strep A swabs: Rapid Test and Throat Culture. A Rapid Test enables you to quickly identify whether you have a strep A infection, as there is no need to send this test to the lab. A Throat Culture test requires more time as this test is sent off to a lab. However, it has the ability to identify more types of infections.

If you are in need of a strep A test in the UK, you can either get a Strep Throat Home Test at the pharmacy or order one online. At Home Health, we offer a range of strep A swabs to help you quickly identify the cause of your symptoms.


Treating Strep A

In most cases, strep A related infections are mild, so a GP will generally prescribe you antibiotics as it is a bacterial infection.

If left untreated, strep A infections can become more serious and lead to iGAS infections. This is why it is important to recognise the symptoms of strep A related illnesses to seek treatment as soon as possible.

For serious iGAS infections, you must seek treatment immediately, as you will need to be treated in a hospital with antibiotics.


Preventing Strep A

Strep A bacteria is spread through respiratory droplets or direct contact with an infected individual. To avoid catching strep A related infections, you should:

  • Wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap for at least 20 seconds
  • Use tissues to cough or sneeze into and wash your hands after use
  • Bin used tissues immediately after use
  • Avoid contact with others if they are unwell


Check Your Symptoms with Tests From Home Health

If you think you have any symptoms of strep A related infections, why not take control of your health and take a test? It is crucial you identify a strep A related infection as early as possible to ensure you receive the right treatment straightaway and avoid your illness becoming more serious. At Home Health, we have strep throat home tests as well as other home testing kits. Check your symptoms today with Home Health!


Strep A FAQs

Where can I get a strep test?

You can get a strep swab at a pharmacy or at the GP if you go to see your doctor with symptoms of a strep A related illness. Alternatively, you can order a strep A test online with Home Health! We offer a range of rapid tests so you can get your results within 5 minutes.

What are the symptoms of having strep A?

There are a range of symptoms you could exhibit if you have a strep A related illness. Common symptoms include:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Sore throat (strep throat or tonsillitis)
  • A rash that feels rough (scarlet fever)
  • Itchy red blisters that scab (impetigo)
  • Pain and swelling (cellulitis)

Is strep A very serious?

Strep A or group A Streptococcus (GAS) illnesses are typically very mild and can be treated easily with antibiotics. However, if not treated properly or quickly, these illnesses can develop into iGAS illnesses which are more serious. Some examples of iGAS illnesses include:

  • Bacteraemia
  • Meningitis
  • Necrotising fasciitis
  • Streptococcal toxic shock


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