How to get rid of strep throat fast continues to be one of the most vexing queries encountered by physicians and naturalists alike. This is best answered by understanding as to what causes strep throat in humans.
- 1 What causes strep throat
- 2 Myths and facts
- 3 The strep throat diagnosis
- 4 How is strep throat spread?
- 5 How to get rid of strep throat at home fast and naturally
- 5.1 Keep it moist
- 5.2 Rest and recuperate
- 5.3 Say no to irritants
- 5.4 Dietary options
- 5.5 Probiotics
- 5.6 Yogurt
- 5.7 Honey and garlic
- 5.8 Honey or Raw Honey?
- 5.9 Garlic and not Antibiotics
- 5.10 The cayenne wonder
- 5.11 Apple cider vinegar
- 5.12 Vitamin C
- 5.13 Sage
- 5.14 Barberry
- 5.15 Echinacea
- 5.16 Chamomile tea
- 5.17 Cinnamon
- 5.18 Lemon
- 5.19 Lymphatic massage or oil castor
- 5.20 Soothing foods
- 5.21 Salt water
- 5.22 Toothbrush
- 5.23 Contagious or safe?
- 5.24 Conclusion
What causes strep throat
The name is suggestive and according to WebMD strep throat infections are caused by a specific bacterial organism called as Group A Streptococcus. GAS, as this bacterium is more commonly connoted, invariably invades the tissues of the pharynx and thus leads to localized infection of the throat and the tonsils.
The condition is pretty common than one would believe considering that 600 million people suffer from strep throat in a year. Statistics indicate that strep throat is most common in children and teenagers as compared to adults.
Those with a predilection for numbers would find it fascinating that children in the age group of 5 to 15 years are more prone to contracting the condition as compared to adults. A further drill down indicates that 15 to 40 percent of all sore throats in this age group could be attributed to strep throat infections.
Myths and facts
Although experts have observed that a lot of people tend to use the term ‘strep throat’ and ‘sore throat’ interchangeably, this could not be further from the truth. The logic being that a sore throat is typically associated with cough, sneezing, redness of the eyes and a runny nose. On the contrary, a strep throat infection will not exhibit these symptoms and will present with pain in the throat along with difficulty in swallowing.
Strep throat is a bacterial not viral infection. It is caused by a Streptococcus bacteria. People most often mistake a strep throat for a sore throat from common cold or vice versa. The two, however, are not the same. Sore throat is caused by viral infection unlike the bacterial infection that pesters the throat when having a strep. While sore throat could also be painful, strep throat occurs with extreme and sudden pain.
According to WebMD, while the more popular source of strep throat is the Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria, other bacteria may produce similar symptoms once they get in the body like neisseria and staphylococcus. This is the reason why merely looking at your throat is not reliable enough to determine that you have a strep throat. There are tests available that include swabbing the throat to see if strep bacteria are the reason of your sore throat.
The strep throat diagnosis
Arriving at the right diagnosis would invariably depend on identifying strep throat symptoms and signs of strep throat accurately. These signs and symptoms may include:
- Fever more than 101 Fahrenheit
- Acute and sudden onset of pain in the throat
- Experiencing pain while swallowing
- Swollen lymph nodes in the region of the neck (check out our detailed article on home remedies for swollen lymph nodes in neck)
- Angry red tonsils
- The throat is bright red in color and a speckling of white or yellowish spots located on the hard palate as well as the soft palate.
How is strep throat spread?
Strep throat bacteria can live in the throat for months without inducing any harm or danger to the body. This nevertheless does not stop the spread of the bacteria from one person to another. Carriers of the strep bacteria may pass an infection to others, especially when the latter comes in contact with the tiny droplets of the infected person’s sneeze or cough. Such droplets, once they reach the eyes, nose and mouth, will make you feel sick. This is the same when an infected person shares his or her utensils like a spoon and a glass to another person.
Strep throat spreads by direct contact. So when a member of your family gets sick, it is advised to take precautionary steps to prevent the transmission of bacteria. This is very important if you have children at home. Children aged five to fifteen are at the highest risk of acquiring the bacteria.
The rapid spread of bacteria should be the primary concern especially for families living closely in one household. Considering the fact that children are in the frontline when it comes to strep throat, it is important that you come up with ways to combat strep bacteria. Home remedies will help to treat a strep throat or speed up the process when taken alongside with antibiotics.
Antibiotics are the primary cure for strep throat. They kill the bacteria that trigger a strep infection. Antibiotics also help shorten the period when a person may be contagious. However, the medical field acknowledges the long-term effects of antibiotics to children. In the long run, it may lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria that cause an infection.
The drug resistant bacteria reduce the effectiveness of the drug or medicine resulting to proliferation of bacteria thereby causing more danger to the human body. Apart from that, exposure to antibiotics increases the risk of asthma and allergies.
Always consult with your doctor first before trying out any of these home cures for strep throat. If the infection worsens, you may still need to be on antibiotics. It’s important to treat the strep bacteria as soon as possible.
How to get rid of strep throat at home fast and naturally
There are some home remedies that have shown encouraging results. However, if strep throat is not treated promptly or left untreated, it can cause complications such as rheumatic fever or kidney inflammation. If your symptoms don’t get better, it’s best to consult with your doctor. Often times, antibiotics are inevitable.
Keep it moist
One of the simplest option is to ensure that the throat is kept moist at all times. This is best achieved by keeping the air in your home moist by increasing the humidity.
With humidifier, you can minimize the discomfort by allowing the mucous membrane in your throat to moisten up to keep it from becoming dry. There are different types of humidifiers available. The most popular is the cool-mist humidifier. If you don’t have one, you can use the saline nasal spray to moisten up the mucous membrane. Just be sure to clean the humidifier daily so as to avoid the formation of germs and molds.
Concurrently, drinking plenty of fluids will also keep the throat moist and hence minimize the probability of contracting this disconcerting condition.
Drinking plenty of water helps you to swallow food easily. And since the throat dries quickly when suffering from a sore throat, you need to refuel your throat with water to prevent any dehydration. Thus, it is advisable to keep a bottle of water beside you wherever you go. Remember, strep throat is triggered by stress and overwork, which would also indicate lack of hydration during those days.
Rest and recuperate
Rest at home if you are infected and this will help you recover quicker. This is one of the precautions which will also help to prevent the spread of the illness to others.
More than the pain and discomfort, strep throat weakens the body. In most cases, a strep throat restrains a person from going to work or school. It also impedes a schedule or daily routine.
But one with strep throat should not force herself out as it may lead to more complications. For children, keep them at home until they feel better. This could also prevent the spread of a strep among the classmates and friends. For working adults, stay at home if you can. Take a good rest or sleep, allow your body to fight infection and regain strength and energy.
Say no to irritants
Throat irritants like cigarette smoke, fumes from cleaning products, and paint vapors are particularly harmful as they can further deteriorate the condition. This is because of the fact that these irritants are known to further inflame the strep throat infections. It has been observed that tonsillitis and infection of the lungs are common complications in people who are unable to avoid throat irritants.
It has been emphasized that the bacteria residing in one’s throat and nose can actually live there without showing any symptoms of illness. Once it is triggered, pain in the throat comes in quickly. This pain is extreme and may worsen if exposed to irritants such as smoke or dry air. Give yourself an isolated space far from cigarette smoke and fumes from cleaning essentials at home as they further irritate not only your throat but also the lungs.
One of the simplest yet effective options is to make the right diet changes. It could be as simple as avoiding sugary foods and dairy products. There is a scientific logic to this considering that high sugar content in the diet can stimulate the growth of bacteria which may cause a strep throat. Concurrently, using dairy products is known to increase the formation of mucus and phlegm in the throat.
Thus, it is evident that while a high sugar diet will further increase the infection load, dairy products can trigger off strong throat symptoms which can be alarming.
On the contrary, it has been concluded through clinical studies that an acidic medium also leads to a significant increase in the A. Streptococcus bacteria load. Thus, it is not surprising that experts advocate altering the pH and making the internal environment of the body more alkaline.
This is best achieved by using broths made with carrots, potatoes, and chopped vegetables. A word of caution being that while preparing the broth, salt must not be added to the mix as it can prove to be counterproductive.
Finally, drinking plenty of fluids can help detoxify the system and reversing the symptoms commonly associated with strep throat infections.
The new buzzword in healthcare, probiotics are known to control and reverse numerous disease conditions and strep throat infection is no exception to the rule either.
If you are taking antibiotics to cure sore throat, do not forget to arm yourself with probiotics. Antibiotics kill not only the bacteria that cause the strep throat, they likewise eliminate good or beneficial bacteria. Good bacteria are important in the body as they inhibit the growth and reproduction of infectious bacteria.
To significantly increase the level of a good bacteria in the body, you need to take probiotics along with other strep throat remedies. There are probiotic supplements that target bacterial infection in the throat. Probiotics are also important in strengthening your immune system.
The human gut and flora is made up of both good and bad bacteria. This is further complicated by a significant deterioration of good bacteria in those who have a history of having taken antibiotics in the past. Thus it could be concluded that a majority of diagnosed cases may present with an abundance of ‘bad’ bacteria and a strong depletion of ‘good’ bacteria.
Situations such as these, where strep throat symptoms are aggravated and the judicious use of probiotics is known to help. The recommended minimal therapeutic requirement is opting for probiotics with a minimum of one billion units of bacteria at any point of time.
Yogurt is a popular alternative for those seeking a natural cure for strep throat infections. This is a strong antiseptic which works on the concept of stimulating the growth of good bacteria so that they can overwhelm the infection and thus lead to recovery from strep throat infections.
Consuming yogurt is not a challenge. However, always ensure that you do not consume any fluids or food for half an hour after taking yogurt if you would like to maximize the benefits.
Honey and garlic
Most strep throat cases attack children between 5 to 15 years old. It is very difficult to ask children to take antibiotics while others are allergic to it. Honey is one of the best kid-friendly remedies, which is an added bonus. Honey helps to soothe the throat, thereby alleviating the pain. If the taste of pure honey seems too strong, you can add it with a lemon and mix them together in warm water. Honey is great in the tea as well.
Mix one Tbsp of honey with five cloves of garlic and one-fourth of a tea spoon of cayenne powder. This mix will help cure strep throat infection within 24 to 48 hours. The preferred dosage is to use one tbsp of the mix every hour for best results. The growing popularity of these ingredients could well be attributed to their chemistry and biological benefits:
Honey or Raw Honey?
Nutritionists have concluded that caution must be exercised when selecting your honey and raw honey is arguably the preferred option. The logic is simple, processed or store honey is usually heated and then mixed with water which kills and dilutes the enzymes and amino acids. Thus, it is not surprising that the alternative continues to be raw honey if it has to be effective.
Garlic and not Antibiotics
Garlic is a natural antibiotic and 3 cloves of garlic may well equal a dose of antibiotics. Consuming garlic twice a day for two days can result in reversal of symptoms.
The mechanics are interesting, while antibiotics kill both the good as well as the bad bacteria; garlic selectively kills the bad bacteria while stimulating the growth of the good bacteria. Experts have concluded that garlic helps strengthen and rebuild the immune system. Thus, ensuring that one has a lower probability of contracting strep infection in the future.
There is more to garlic, it is also a strong anti – inflammatory option. This is because garlic has a high sulphur content, which in turn leads to quick control of inflammation.
As garlic is a rich source of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Selenium and Manganese, it can also strengthen the immune system significantly and help with your condition.
The cayenne wonder
Contrary to popular belief, cayenne is more than a mere additive. To illustrate the case in point, cayenne powder is an important ingredient, like garlic it boosts the immune system of the body.
Cayenne is also known to be a quick healer as it increases the circulation of the blood to the affected region and is a rich source of Vitamin C. Experts have concluded that vitamin C is arguably one of the more popular healing ingredients known to mankind since times immemorial.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar is replete with therapeutic benefits, which makes it the pick of option to cure a strep throat.
A strong detoxifying agent, it can flush out the infection and the toxins from the body, making it an effective option for people diagnosed with the condition.
It also strengthens the immune system of the body, which helps fight infection better and leads to quicker recovery. Thus, it is not surprising that experts are of the opinion that apple cider vinegar is perhaps one of the most effective treatment options for strep throat infections.
When it comes to consuming apple cider vinegar, the preferred option is to dilute this amazing liquid with a glass of warm water. One to three teaspoons in 8 oz of water are adequate and the results are encouraging. Observational studies indicate that results are quick and the liquid begins to act within 30 minutes.
Vitamin C has been conventionally used to treat scurvy, however in recent times it has become an important complement in treating strep throats as well. The vitamin C can enhance the overall health of those diagnosed with the condition. The only limitation being that vitamin C is seldom effective when used in isolation.
Strep throat infections are best characterized by the presence of severe throat pain and inflammation of the throat. Sage is particularly strong in antibacterial properties which makes it the pick of options for those seeking an effective cure for strep throat.
Add one tablespoon of dried sage to a cup of hot water and allow it to steep for ten minutes. Strain the leaves and your tea is ready for consumption. The preferred frequency is twice a day.
This wonder drug has been used to treat medical conditions for well over two thousand years. What makes it even more fascinating is the fact that it can kill streptococcus bacteria while concurrently boosting the immune mechanism of the body. The recommended dose is 4 g of dried herb added to boiling water. The mix is allowed to simmer for 15 minutes before consumption.
Although Echinacea has no antibacterial properties, it is definitely a great option for control and reversal of pain and swelling. This is due to the strong anti – inflammatory properties that this drug possesses.
Similar to barberry, echinacea is yet another potent herbal tea preparation and is relatively easy to prepare. All that you would need to do is to add 1 to 2 g of dried herb to a cup of boiling water. The prescribed frequency is one cup three times a day for a max of ten days.
The results are encouraging; however experts are of the opinion that echinacea is not safe for pregnant women and lactating mothers.
Chamomile tea needs no introduction, considering that it has numerous therapeutic benefits. Nevertheless control of strep throat infections continues to be one of the most commonly treated conditions.
This is one of the herbal tea options which has strong analgesic properties. Thus, makes it the preferred choice for treating strep throat. This tea is easy to prepare:
Add dried chamomile to a cup of hot boiling water and then let it steep for ten minutes in a covered pot. Strain the leaves and use the filtered fluid as a tea. The preferred frequency is four to six times a day for better results.
Truth is, our kitchen is full of helpful ingredients for home remedies we can use, from the leafy vegetables to the condiments, to spices, and herbs. And speaking of herbs, cinnamon is known for its several uses as a great remedy. Strep throat prohibits the intake of acidic and spicy food. While spicy food is a no-no when having a strep throat, cinnamon is an exception.
This herb contains high quantity of antioxidants. Our body needs antioxidant to maintain overall health by fighting off the harmful free radicals that yield certain diseases. Cinnamon prevents the buildup of mucus in the throat. It also has antiseptic properties that eliminate bacteria, which could be very helpful in treating strep throat. You can use either the cinnamon powder or cinnamon sticks.
Boil some cinnamon sticks or powder for a couple of minutes. Let the cinnamon tea sit for a while and then add honey to taste. The cinnamon tea likewise produces aroma that helps clear the throat for relief.
Another effective home remedy for strep throat is lemon. Lemon has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory components that help eliminate the bacteria in the throat. It cuts mucus in the throat to relieve the air and food passage. Also, because it is rich in vitamin C, a natural antioxidant, it effectively treats a strep throat while fortifying the body’s resistance against infectious agents.
You can take lemon as it is, however to minimize its acidity, which is not advisable when suffering from strep throat, you can mix it with honey to come up with a concoction. Better, if you incorporate it in your tea.
Lymphatic massage or oil castor
Whether it is a strep throat involving a child or an adult, a gentle massage in the lymph will help. This type of massage is called the lymphatic drainage massage. It aids to clear the lymphatic drainage giving a much needed comfort. The lymphatic drainage massage, as a result, alleviates pain in just a matter of minutes.
It can be done by simply using a circular motion from the lymph down to the neck and chest. By simply tracing the lymph nodes from behind your jaw down to the sides of the throat to the collarbone going to the lymph nodes in the upper chest, you are mitigating both discomfort and pain.
This is very helpful when dealing with children who are in pain. You can also use the mixture of essential oils. For maximum comfort, apply castor oil on your back. The gentle massage will also improve sleep at night.
It is very difficult to eat when suffering from strep throat. Aside from the struggle with swallowing, you should remember that you have to eat the right food to not aggravate the irritation and the pain. Foods like soup, mashed potatoes, broths and yogurt are soft and easy on the throat.
If you want to replenish yourself with fruits and vegetables, blend them instead. Your favorite smoothies will be your best friend when having a strep throat. Aside from the relaxing effects of cold smoothies, they also moisten the throat.
Other strep remedies include the use of more popular and traditional salt water gargle. The salt water gargle would not reach this generation without its credibility for strep throat. Similar to what it does with a viral sore throat, the salt in the solution shrinks the swollen area in the throat and also kills the bacteria.
If this is not your first time acquiring a strep throat, consider looking into your hygienic properties that include a toothbrush. Aside from a spoon and a fork, toothbrush has the closest and most direct contact with our mouth and what is inside. The answer to your recurring strep throat might be on the bristle of your toothbrush. Toothbrush bristles can hold a bacteria and without proper cleaning, may lead to the growth of bacteria.
Contagious or safe?
When a friend or family was diagnosed positive, we would have often asked ourselves is strep throat contagious? The answer is an emphatic ‘Yes’ and there are innumerable studies which have now validated this conclusion.
The condition is contagious. What makes it even more disconcerting is the fact that the infection spreads very rapidly across populations. When one is diagnosed with strep, the person is contagious and can spread the infection to others during the next five days.
This is one of the bacteria which can be on your skin or in the throat. To further elaborate this case in point, 10 per cent of children carry Group A Streptococcus in their throat while 20 percent of all adults carry it on their skin.
The common mode of spread is through a droplet infection in overly crowded places like schools and hospitals.
Mechanism of Spread
Alternatively, it is a distinct possibility that the infection may be spread by shared use of personal objects like keys and utensils. It has now been proved beyond doubt that when someone with the infection touches a door knob or a water faucet, the bacteria would have settled on the object. Thus, when an apparently healthy individual comes in contact with the object and then inadvertently touches the eyes, nose or mouth, the infection travels to the healthy individual.
If a child should sneeze while in a classroom, other children will inhale the organism and five days later they may present with the symptoms. The infection is then passed on to other children in a similar manner within a quick time.
It could well be concluded that coughing, sneezing, and touching other people can lead to a rapid spread of the strep infection.
Always consult with your doctor before trying out any of these cures for strep throat. If your infection worsens, call your physician immediately. It is important to get the infection under control as soon as possible to prevent further complications.
Each of the above listed home treatments have its own composition or properties. So to speed up the treatment and recovery, one can mix and match. This list of throat remedies may not completely eliminate the illness itself. When symptoms such as red rash, shortness of breath and joint pain develop one or two weeks after the infection, one should immediately consult the doctor. Also, blocked throat caused by inflamed tonsils, require an immediate medical attention.
When you have finally recovered from a strep throat, it is important that you practice self-care or prevention measures to prevent its occurrence. There are several ways to prevent strep from coming back. First, clean your hands regularly and properly. This is the most basic step to prevent any kind of infection. Second, make sure to cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve. Third, avoid sharing personal items such as eating utensils.
To prevent the re-occurrence of the painful strep throat, it is also important to strengthen the immune system. A weak immune system makes you more prone to diseases and putting the lives of your family at risk. Also, do not forget to consider primary reason or sources of the recurring strep throat. This is very important, because even after you have recovered from the infection, if the bacteria carrier still exists, you are still prone to it. Families with a strep throat patient should be extra careful with their hygiene and lifestyle.