A spokesperson for the Irish College of General Practitioners has advised parents to watch out for possible signs of Strep A infection as children’s immune systems have become more prone to infections following Covid lockdowns.
Dr Scott Walkin told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that the increase in cases of RSV, flu and Strep A this winter was likely due to less exposure of children’s immune systems to infection during lockdown. If the immune system is not being challenged then it “dips” a bit, he explained.
With the colder weather people were mixing more indoors which increased the opportunity to spread infections, this, combined with increased susceptibility that meant there was a higher chance of children “getting bugs”.
Dr Walkin explained that most cases of Strep A do not cause problems, but if the infection spreads from the throat to the lungs or the blood it can lead to pneumonia or sepsis, but this was not common.
As a GP he had not seen a serious case of Strep A in a long time.
Dr Walkin’s advice to parents was to watch out for signs such as persistent fever which did not respond to standard pain relief. If their child was “drowsy” or “floppy” then they needed to be seen by a doctor. Other signs to watch out for were if the child stopped drinking or could not pass urine.
Children with weak immune systems should also be seen quicker if they had symptoms, he urged.