How to Treat Strep Throat

If your illness is diagnosed as strep throat, your doc­tor will probably prescribe about 10 days’ worth of peni­cillin or other antibiotic to knock out the infection. It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully and take your medicine exactly as directed. If you don’t, the streptococcus bacteria could come back, and it might cause kidney damage or rheumatic fever, a serious con­dition that can damage your heart.

Along with your doctor’s care, here are some steps you can take to help your body fight off the infection of strep throat.

  • If you smoke, stop. Smoking will irritate your throat even more and might slow your recovery.
  • Take it easy. Bed rest is a good idea if you have a busy, active lifestyle. You need to let your body wrestle with the invading bacteria without having to use so much energy on other physical demands.

Strep Throat

  • Moisten the air. Use a cool-mist humidifier in the room you’re recuperating in. Moist air can help relieve that parched, scratchy feeling in your throat.
  • Drink lots of liquids. You probably don’t feel much like swallowing anything, but liquids are easier on your throat than solids. When you have a fever, you lose a lot of fluid, so it’s important to pump plenty of liquids back into your body. You should drink at least six to eight glasses of liquids a day. Drink fruit and vegetable juices, thin soups, herbal and regular teas, and even carbon­ated drinks and coffee if they appeal to you. But you should emphasize drinks that pack a lot of nutrients rather than empty calories.
  • Boost your vitamin C intake. Some research shows that vitamin C helps fight certain condi­tions that develop from strep, such as rheumatic fever. People in the tropics, where fruits are rich in vitamin C, rarely get rheumatic fever. Eating fresh fruit or drinking fresh fruit juice is the best way to nourish your body with vitamin C and other antioxidants.
  • Get some garlic. Because it contains allicin, a nat­ural antibiotic, garlic helps fight the bacteria of strep throat. Fresh garlic works best, so chew two to four cloves when you first notice your sore throat. To tone down garlic breath, you can soak the cloves in yogurt before you eat them, or chew them with a handful of fresh parsley. Fresh onions contain allicin, too, so add a liberal sprin­kling to your diet.
  • Take some tea. A strong cup of tea, either warm or cold, makes a soothing gargle for your painful throat. The tannin in tea acts as an astringent on your throat, shrinking blood vessels and swollen tissue. Make your tea twice as strong as you do for drinking, and use it to gargle as often as you like.
  • Make a good gargle. A homemade solution of one-half teaspoon of salt dissolved in a cup of warm water also makes a soothing gargle for your sore throat.
  • Try an herbal cure. Echinacea, an herbal medi­cine discovered long ago by Native Americans, may have some healing power when it comes to respiratory and strep infections. It also gives your entire immune system a boost. Echinacea is avail­able in drugstores and discount stores in liquid or capsule form.
  • Take something for the pain. Aspirin or ibuprofen can help relieve the pain and inflammation of a strep throat. If you have an ulcer, these pain relievers could upset your stomach, so you might want to rely on the other self-help suggestions instead.

The long-range plan for strep throat

Strep throat is a common illness so it’s difficult to avoid, especially if you spend much time around chil­dren. You can catch it just from someone breathing or coughing into the air around you. If you know someone has strep throat, it’s a good idea to keep your distance and wash your hands often.

The best way to avoid getting a case of strep throat is to keep your immune system strong. Then, when you’re exposed to the streptococcus bacteria, your body’s own defenses can fend it off. Eating nutritious foods, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly will give your body’s immune system its best fighting chance.

If you have the symptoms of strep throat, don’t put off medical care or try to be tough. Go to your doctor and have a strep test. He can easily find out whether your throat pain is due to a strep throat or something that will simply run its course and fade away on its own. Either way, your sore throat should soon be nothing more than a distant memory.

Filed Under: Health & Personal Care


About the Author: Andrew Reinert is a health care professional who loves to share different tips on health and personal care. He is a regular contributor to MegaHowTo and lives in Canada.

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