How do you get beta strep?

There’s nothing like a good bacterial infection to make you appreciate the value of hand sanitizer. Beta strep is no exception. But how exactly do you get it? And what can you do about it?\

What is Beta Strep?

Before we dive in, let’s take a moment to talk about what beta strep actually is. Also known as group B streptococcus, it’s a type of bacteria that can be found in the intestines and genital tracts of both men and women.\

While most people who carry beta strep don’t experience any symptoms, it can cause serious infections in certain cases – specifically, when passed from a pregnant woman to her newborn during childbirth or when introduced into an open wound.\

So with that unpleasantness out of the way, let’s move on to some more practical questions.

How Do You Get It?

There are several ways that someone may come into contact with beta strep.

From Another Person:

As mentioned earlier, many healthy adults – male and female – already have this bacteria living inside them without even realizing it. However, if someone has an active infection or is carrying the bacteria around on their skin/mucous membranes (known as being “colonized”), they may easily transmit these germs by other means:

  • Coughing or sneezing near others
  • Kissing
  • Sharing drinks/food/or smoking paraphernalia
  • Sexual Contact

Through Contaminated Objects:

Another way you could become infected with beta-strep would be by coming into contact with contaminated objects such as towels/clothing/kitchen utensils etc., which have recently been used by an infected person (1); this is more likely to occur via shared household items like bed sheets/towels than for individual use products.

During Surgery:

Patients undergoing severe tissue damage surgery or surgeries in the genital tract colonized with beta strep are at risk of developing post-operative infections due to bacterial contamination that could again manifest as an invasive disease. (3)

Who is At Risk for Beta Strep Infections?

There are a few demographics who may be at increased risk for developing a beta strep infection:

  • Newborn babies
  • Pregnant women
  • Elderly individuals
  • People with weakened immune systems

If you fall into any of these categories, it’s especially important to take steps to prevent the transmission of this bacteria.

Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to help reduce your chances of coming into contact with beta strep:

1- Practice good hygiene such as regular hand washing and bathing via using soap, including before preparing/eating food and after handling objects potentially contaminated.

2- Avoid close contact with people showing symptoms (or even those without symptoms potentially harboring bacterium). This should include avoiding casual acquaintances or others generally known as high-risk groups like sick elderly patients/hospital staff/family members/caregivers. Additionally consider wiping down frequently-touched surfaces like doorknobs/light switches/remote controls all throughout your house/gym/yoga studio/workplace toilet/study office/large group settings/public transport where bacteria transfer is likely.

3- Wear gloves when dealing with open wounds/bodily fluids especially if working in hospitals/research labs/nursing homes + related medical fields – this practice will also tend towards keeping germs out from splitting nails/skin tags etc.. Ensure proper management/demanding lab staff report suspected cases promptly prior & during tests (e.g., screen pregnant mothers pre-delivery/check newborns) so prompt initiation of antibiotics might reduce likelihood invasive infections manifest (4)

4- Stay up-to-date on recommended vaccinations like Tdap/Td/Tdap-IPV among others, which can protect against certain types of bacterial infections like tetanus and diphtheria. Be sure to confirm current boosters in your personal medical records as well!

5-Ensure that any wounds you do have (no matter how minor) are cleaned thoroughly and treated with an appropriate antibiotic cream or ointment.

As always, prevention is the key when it comes to avoiding uncomfortable – or even life-threatening – bacterial infections such as beta strep. So go forth, wash your hands often, avoid sick people whenever possible (2) & take care of yourself!