Group B Strep
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Group B strep infection is a condition caused by bacteria called group B streptococcus (GBS). GBS are normally found in the digestive organs or vagina. A person may carry GBS and not get infected and become sick. GBS live inside the body, along with many other bacteria that are harmless to most people. GBS rarely cause serious problems in adults, but can be life-threatening to babies.
- GBS are not easily passed to other adults. Babies can get infected during, or shortly after birth. Your baby may also become sick if he had contact with a person infected with GBS. Among adults, GBS infection usually affects pregnant women and the elderly. GBS infection may cause preterm delivery, stillbirth, or infections of the womb or bladder in pregnant women. GBS usually also affects adults with other diseases, such as diabetes or cancer. GBS may cause infections in the blood, lungs, or skin.
You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.
Treatment for GBS infection may cause side effects. Antibiotic medicines may cause fast or irregular breathing, fever, rash, or swelling around the face. Group B strep infection may cause sepsis, meningitis (infection of the membranes around the brain), and pneumonia (lung infection). Your baby may also develop problems with his hearing, vision, speech, or learning. If left untreated, GBS infection may cause life-threatening brain or organ damage, or a coma.
WHILE YOU ARE HERE:
A consent form is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.
Stay with your child for comfort and support as often as possible while he is in the hospital. Ask another family member or someone close to the family to stay with your child when you cannot be there. Bring items from home that will comfort your child, such as a favorite blanket or toy.
Intake and output:
Caregivers may need to know how much liquid your child is getting and urinating. Your child may need to urinate into a container in bed or in the toilet. A caregiver will measure the amount of urine. If your child wears diapers, a caregiver may need to weigh them. Do not throw away diapers or flush urine down the toilet before asking a caregiver.
Your child may be in isolation if he has an infection or disease that he can spread to others. Caregivers and visitors may need to wear gloves, a face mask, and a gown. Everyone should wash their hands before and after visiting your child.
An IV is a small tube placed in your child's vein. Caregivers use the IV to give your child medicine or liquids.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help prevent or treat an infection caused by bacteria.
- Anticonvulsant medicine: Anticonvulsants are given to control your child's seizures.
- Ibuprofen or acetaminophen: These medicines are given to decrease your child's pain and fever. They can be bought without a doctor's order. Ask how much medicine is safe to give your child, and how often to give it.
- Blood tests: Your child may need blood tests to give caregivers information about how his body is working. The blood may be taken from your child's arm, hand, finger, foot, heel, or IV.
- Chest x-ray: This is a picture of your child's lungs and heart. A chest x-ray may be used to check your child's heart, lungs, and chest wall. It can help caregivers diagnose your child's symptoms, or suggest or monitor treatment for medical conditions.
- Lumbar puncture: This procedure may also be called a spinal tap. A small needle is placed into your child's lower back. Fluid will be removed from around your child's spinal cord and sent to the lab for tests. The test is done to check for bleeding around your child's brain and spinal cord, and for infection. This procedure may also be done to take pressure off your child's brain and spinal cord, or to give medicine. Your child may need to be held in place so that he does not move during the procedure.
- Neurologic signs: These are also called neuro signs, neuro checks, or neuro status. During a neuro check, caregivers see how your child's pupils react to light. They may check his memory and how easily he wakes up. His hand grasp and balance may also be tested. How your child responds to the neuro checks can tell caregivers if his illness or injury has affected his brain.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.