- There is a national warning to look for potential streptococcal infection, with a bacteria called Group A Strep.
- There is also a large number of viral infections in our community, including COVID, Flu, RSV and Hand, foot and mouth, affecting adults and especially children.
- Thirdly we are running low on antibiotic supply, needing to use our stock wisely.
The combined mix of a virus along with the strep bacteria seems to be the biggest danger.
So what are we looking to treat with antibiotics (or maybe hospital) ?
- Scarlet fever with “sandpaper rash”, “strawberry tongue”, high temperature, sore throat, sore glands.
- Chest infections, where a bacterial (Streptococcal) infection may have added on top of the viral infection. Not just a cough, but other symptoms of being more unwell such as high temperature, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, dehydration, not eating and drinking normally.
- Sepsis. Drowsy, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, not responding normally, reduced feeding.
- Persisting or worsening symptoms: Most viral infections are improving around the 4-5 days of infection.
What are we not treating with antibiotics?
- Every cough, every sore throat, every headache, every temperature.
- We need to monitor these “viral infections” for signs of illnesses above, but we will not be able to give antibiotics “just incase”.
- This advice could change in local areas where a serious outbreak of “invasive” infections is taking place – where the bacteria seem especially dangerous.
- We are not currently aware of these serious cases in North Devon.
For advice about common infections, see links below.
What should parents do?
Sensible advice from BBC website:
Trust your judgement if your child seems seriously unwell.
Contact your local surgery if they:
- are getting worse
- are eating much less than normal
- show signs of dehydration, such as a dry nappy for 12 hours
- have a temperature of 39C or higher, or 38C if under three months old
- are a baby and feel hotter than usual when you touch their back or chest or sweaty
- are very tired or irritable
Call 999 or go to an accident-and-emergency unit if:
- they are having difficulty breathing – you may notice grunting noises or their stomach sucking under their ribs
- they are pausing when they breathe
- their skin, tongue or lips are blue
- they are floppy and will not wake up or stay awake