Streptococcal infections, caused by Group A streptococcus bacteria, can trigger the onset of Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) and Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS) in children. Preventing streptococcal infections is a key aspect of managing and reducing the risks associated with PANS and PANDAS. This blog aims to provide insight into various preventive measures that parents and caregivers can take to protect children from streptococcal infections.
Adequate Vitamin D3 Levels
The research suggests a link between Vitamin D deficiency and the frequency and severity of streptococcal infections. Individuals deficient in Vitamin D might experience streptococcal infections more frequently or severely1. This implies that maintaining adequate Vitamin D levels could potentially play a role in lowering the risk of such infections.
Good Hygiene Practices:
- Handwashing: Encourage children to wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing, before eating, and before preparing food1.
- Alcohol-Based Hand Rub: In the absence of soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand rub to clean hands1.
- Covering Coughs and Sneezes: Teach children to cover their mouths and noses with a tissue when they cough or sneeze, and to dispose of used tissues properly. If a tissue isn’t available, coughing or sneezing into the elbow is advised1.
Avoiding Contact with Infected Individuals:
- Keep children away from individuals who have strep throat or other streptococcal infections2.
- If a family member is infected, ensure they follow treatment protocols to prevent the spread of the infection.
Regular Medical Check-ups:
- Regular throat cultures and rapid strep tests can help in early detection and treatment of streptococcal infections3.
- Seek medical attention if your child has symptoms of a streptococcal infection, such as a sore throat, fever, or swollen lymph nodes.
Maintaining a Clean Environment:
- Keep the home, school, and play areas clean to minimize the exposure to harmful bacteria.
- Disinfect common areas and frequently touched surfaces to reduce the spread of germs.
Ensure that children have a balanced diet, get regular exercise, and adequate sleep to support a strong immune system which can fight off infections.
Although there is no vaccine for Group A streptococcus, keeping up with other vaccinations can help maintain overall health and immunity.
- Educate children about the importance of hygiene and the risks associated with streptococcal infections.
- Schools and communities should also be educated on the preventive measures and the link between streptococcal infections and PANS/PANDAS.
Preventing streptococcal infections is a proactive approach to mitigating the risks associated with PANS and PANDAS. By adhering to good hygiene practices, avoiding contact with infected individuals, and maintaining a clean and healthy environment, parents and caregivers can significantly contribute to safeguarding children’s health against streptococcal infections and its associated neuropsychiatric conditions.