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Group A streptococcus (GAS) is bacteria that can be found in your throat, in your nose, or on your skin. Anyone, not just pregnant people, can have GAS bacteria.
Most GAS infections are mild, such as strep throat or skin infections. Many people recover from these illnesses in a short time. But GAS bacteria can also cause much more serious infections.
GAS infection can be serious before and after you have your baby. You may need to be treated at the hospital, and it’s best to get treatment as early as possible. Be sure to watch for symptoms and call your healthcare provider if you think you have an infection.
Symptoms of infection may include:
GAS infections usually cause illnesses such as strep throat or impetigo. But sometimes the germs can cause more serious infections, and get into your blood, the tissues around the muscle or wound, or even your lungs. These infections can happen before or after your baby is born.
GAS germs spread through contact with mucus, saliva, or wounds of a person who is infected with GAS.
People who are sick with infections such as strep throat or skin infections are most likely to spread GAS germs. But people can still spread these germs even if they don’t feel sick. These people are called carriers.
The germs can spread through by touching, talking, laughing, coughing, and sneezing. They can spread from:
Here are the most important things you can do before and after your baby is born to stop GAS germs from spreading.
Clean your hands.
Cover your cough.
Keep yourself clean.
GAS is treated with antibiotics. If you have a serious GAS infection, people who have been in close contact with you (such as your family or other patients) may also get antibiotics.
Healthcare facilities take extra steps to help stop GAS from spreading. Staff may put a sign on the door of your room to remind people to use isolation precautions (such as masks, eye protection, gowns, and gloves) before entering your room.
You’ll need to stay in your room as much as possible—only leave your room when a healthcare provider asks you to (for example, to go for a medical test).
If you do leave your room, do these things first:
There are simple things you can do to stop germs from spreading at home:
To see this information online and learn more, visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca/Alberta/Pages/Childbirth-Group-A-Streptococcus-Infections-Topic-Overview.aspx.
For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 811.
Current as of: April 9, 2020
Author: Infection Prevention and Control, Alberta Health Services
Care instructions may be adapted by your healthcare provider. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, talk with your doctor or appropriate healthcare provider.