Ohh! July is here, and it’s time for Group B Strep Awareness Month. The whole month is dedicated to the prevention of Group B Strep Disease and spreading awareness about it. Every year, the GBS awareness month is observed throughout July, and during this time, various campaigns highlight the importance of spreading awareness, research, and education. The Group B Strep Awareness Month aims to make more families learn about the disease to safeguard their newborn child or loved ones.
In the United States, GBS is a severe issue. It is the primary reason for neonatal sepsis, meningitis, and other infections in infants and adults in the States. Infections caused by the bacteria are some of the most severe illnesses that, most of the time, could result in the newborn’s death. This makes it pivotal to educate people so that the necessary steps can be taken at the right time.
In honor of July being Group B Strep Awareness Month, let’s take out some time from our busy schedules and spread the word about it. Go through the symptoms, preventive measures, tips for dealing with it, and more. Start by educating yourself so that you can make others learn what you have learned. To know about Group B Strep, read this article. Here you will gain the necessary information that you must know about.
Join hands this July to spread awareness, raise money, and save lives!
What Is Group B Strep (GBS)?
Group B Strep or Group B Streptococcus is a naturally occurring bacteria in the body. It lives in the lower intestine or reproductive tracts of both men and women. The irony is, it does not harm the body, and hence, most individuals don’t even know that they have it in their bodies. Although it is not harmful if a person is healthy, it might be life-threatening for newborns and adults suffering from chronic disease. The result of this bacteria can be devastating, especially for babies.
It is a common cause of severe infections in newborns, passed to them by their mothers who carry it. As per the research, it is found out that 1 in 4 pregnant women has GBS which affects their babies. These babies are at higher risk before they are born and even up to six months because of this bacteria. Till the time their immune system remains undeveloped, they carry the risk.
Symptoms Of Group B Strep
There are two forms of Group B Strep infection: early-onset or late-onset. In the early onset, the disease usually occurs from birth to the first week of their life. In comparison, the late-onset occurs during the first month from birth. When it comes to symptoms, they differ with the age of the individual. Newborns experience different symptoms while other ages of individuals get different symptoms.
In newborn babies, the GBS disease symptoms look like any other typical disease. Babies who get it in the form of early-onset start experiencing these symptoms from the day of their birth. Meanwhile, others can get these symptoms during the first week of their life. The symptoms include:
1. High, shrill crying
2. Lethargic Feeling
3. Breathing Difficulties
5. Bluish color skin
6. Difficulty in feeding
7. Inconsolable irritability
It depends on the infected body parts when it comes to symptoms in adults or individuals other than newborn babies. Here are the symptoms:
1. Bacteremia and Sepsis- Fever, chills, low alertness
2. Pneumonia- Fever, chills, cough, rapid or difficulty breathing, chest pain
3. Skin and soft-tissue infections- Redness, swelling or pain, warm to the touch, pus or other drainages from the skin, fever
4. Bone and joint infections- Fever, chills, swelling, stiffness or inability to use the affected limb or joint
How To Prevent Group B Strep Disease?
There are various preventive measures suggested by the CDC (Centers For Disease Control And Prevention) that should be taken. On this Group B Strep Awareness Month, make sure you learn about these preventive measures and make more and more people aware of them.
1. All pregnant women should get tested for GBS bacteria during the 35th-37th week of pregnancy.
2. Infected women should have an antibiotic treatment at the time of labor. This will prevent the transmission of bacteria to newborns.
3. In case of experiencing any symptoms after the child’s birth, the baby’s blood or spinal fluid should be taken for the test.
4. If the baby gets tested positive, then an intravenous injection of antibiotics should be given to the baby. This will help in clearing out the infection.
5. Why Is It Important To Celebrate Group B Strep Awareness Month?
1. Lack Of Awareness
Regardless of how many infants or adults get affected by this bacteria, it is still unknown to most people. Many people don’t even have an idea of what GBS is, how it can be prevented, its causes, symptoms, and more. The lack of knowledge or awareness makes it vital to observe Group B Strep Awareness Month and educate people about it. The results of GBS are devastating; hence, people should take all the precautions to prevent themselves or their newborns from it.
2. Help Survivors To Come Forward And Share Resources
Group B Strep Awareness Month is an opportunity for all the survivors or those who have seen someone suffering from it to come forward and share the resources they have. Sharing the resources help people to take immediate action in case of any infection symptom.
3. Motivates Survivors
The celebration of Group B Strep Awareness Month is a way to motivate all those suffering from it. This is important as surviving from such a deadly disease is stressful, painful, and challenging. Hence, everyone should join hands in July and try to bring smiles to the faces of people who are surviving from GBS.
How Can You Celebrate Group B Strep Awareness Month?
1. Spread Awareness
Like any other awareness month or day, the most common way of celebrating Group B Strep Awareness Month is by spreading awareness. You can simply reach out to your family, friends, coworkers, or new and expectant parents and discuss Group B Strep with them. You can also use your social media platform to make people aware.
2. Share The Survivors Story
Sharing your story or someone you have seen struggling from GBS will help motivate and encourage others. This Group B Strep Awareness Month must create a support group, pool the required resources, and share the stories.
3. Raise Fund
Last but not least, you can start a fundraising drive to celebrate Group B Strep Awareness Month. Raising funds and donating money to hospitals, research centers, and families who cannot get the proper treatment. Various people struggle with paying hospital bills, and because of that, they end up losing their lives. So, make sure you donate or raise funds for such families.
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