What Is Strep Throat?
Strep throat is a contagious bacterial infection
that can cause a range of complications. The bacteria gravitate to the nose and throat, where the most pronounced symptoms usually take place. Strep can be contracted by inhaling airborne bacteria, or by coming into contact with a surface on which the strep bacteria (streptococcus) resides. It is much more common in children than in adults.
A sore throat is the foremost symptom of strep throat
, which is often not
accompanied by coughing. Swollen and painful lymph nodes in the throat are common as well. A fever, and a visible infection of the tonsils, often occur during a strep throat infection.
Treating Strep Throat
It's important to see your doctor and get tested if you suspect your child might have strep throat, or even if you suspect you might be crossing that line. Antibiotics can be effective in diminishing and ridding the infection; they are most effective when they're first taken within a few days of contracting strep throat
. Antibiotics could help bring relief in as little as two days.
An individual who contracts strep needs comfort and care for a good, ideal recovery. Staying well-hydrated, and eating only soft, easy-to-swallow foods
are important for recovery. Warm soup, age-appropriate throat lozenges, and swishing salt-water can help ease a sore throat.
Natural Treatments for Strep Throat
Treating strep throat under a doctor's supervision is important, especially if an antibiotic is ideal for a child. The following natural remedies provide ways to bolster the recommended treatment for strep throat, and to help relieve symptoms. Talk to your doctor about using any of these before doing so.
Echinacea is an herb that is helpful in supporting the immune system
. It has the ability to help stop the spread of bacterial infections
, possibly by stopping bacteria from entering healthy cells. Echinacea also has anti-inflammatory effects that might diminish the pain and swelling due to strep throat.
Apple cider vinegar can be helpful in relieving a sore throat
. Like a salt-water solution, apple cider vinegar should be gargled for a few seconds at a time and then expelled (not swallowed). This can bring some temporary relief to a sore throat.
Vitamin C is a critical vitamin, which is specifically useful to help fight off infections
, especially during onset of symptoms. A thousand milligrams per day is recommended during the early stages of an infection, and 4,000 if first taken when the infection has already set in.
Herbal tea (or even a tea extract, such as green tea) can be useful in soothing a sore throat, as well as in treating inflammation
. Chamomile tea is an excellent choice because of the antioxidants it contains.
Elderberry is an herb, commonly available in supplement form, which might be helpful in relieving a sore throat
. There are scientific studies supporting the use of elderberry in minimizing the growth of an invading bacteria. There is debate over whether this use definitely applies to treating strep throat
Treating strep is not altogether difficult, but it must be done under a doctor's supervision. These natural remedies should be strongly considered for treating strep throat, as it can potentially be very uncomfortable in a child.