By Danielle, Contributing writer
I’ve seen even the crunchiest of moms throw their hands up in surrender to the diagnosis of strep throat. When they normally would be grabbing their best remedies, they are filling their prescription at CVS and ordering 12 extra bottles of probiotics on Amazon.
We are a little afraid of bacterial infections (and for good reason). Though we have antibiotics, doctors don’t test what bacterial strain we truly have, and therefore do not really know which antibiotic will work. That’s why they prescribe an wide-spectrum antibiotic and cross their fingers. With bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics, it’s time we start assessing and learning to treat bacterial infections.
Profile: Strep Throat
What is Strep Throat Exactly?
The bacteria which causes strep throat, A streptococcus , can actually infect any area of the body. As a general rule of thumb, you can identify a bacterial infection versus a viral as a bacterial infection typically infects one organ or system, while a virus typically results in a full body infection.
Usual symptoms of strep throat include:
- Severely sore throat
- White or yellow patches in the throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
Severe cases of strep can continue into scarlet fever, a more severe infection which produces a rash and fever. Studies show we are actually more likely to have bacterial infections mutate when antibiotics are used often.
Strep bacteria is in all of our bodies, all of the time. We succumb to a bacterial infection when the “good” bacteria in our immune systems, located mostly in our gut, is overtaken by the bad bacteria. This can be caused by a number of stressors on our system, including stress, poor nutrition, leaky gut, and the effects our lifestyle has on our bacterial biome.
PANDAS and Strep
PANDAS, Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections, is a condition where a strep infection triggers a hyperimmune response, causing inflammation in the brain. The child then expresses behavioral issues, such as OCD, tics, food sensitivities, and anxiety. Though it can be even more tempting to treat a PANDAS strep infection with antibiotics because of the severe symptoms, it’s important to consider treating it naturally to help train the immune system to work properly.
Are Strep Tests Accurate?
Moreover, both of the tests for strep are inaccurate, with over 1/3 of negatives for the rapid strep test being false. Most doctors will dole out an antibiotic either way, so the test gives you no real answers to if your infection is truly strep.
How Can We Treat it Naturally?
Antibiotics destroy the good bacteria in your system, leaving it more likely that your bacteria will be imbalanced and strep to rear it’s uncomfortable head again. Use the below remedies during a strep infection, so that your body learns how to fight the infection and it does not reoccur.
- Try a warm tonic, like Fire Cider (which has loads of antibacterial goodies), or gargle warm Apple Cider Vinegar
- Include antibacterial herbs and superfoods – crushed garlic, ginger, turmeric and Echinacea
- Chai tea — the cinnamon and clove in chai tea will kill the strep bacteria, and the warmth will soothe your throat
- Slippery Elm bark and licorice root lozenges or teas — Throat Coat tea is a great buy if you do not have the herbs on hand for teas and lozenges.
- Probiotics — up the good bacteria in your system to fight the strep.
How Can We Be Sure it Doesn’t Come Back (or drop by in the first place)?
Strep is a bacteria, so to keep it at bay, we need to build up the good bacteria in our gut and our homes.
- Replace antibacterial soaps, hand sanitizers and cleaning products with regular soap
- Supplement with probiotics, especially S. salivarius K12 , if you are susceptible to strep infections.
- Build up the good bacteria in your homes.
- Limit or eliminate antibiotic use.
- Play in the dirt, garden, and go outside barefoot (yes, really). Microbes in the dirt are essential to our immune system, and we cannot supplement these.
- Cut out processed foods, which destroy good bacteria in your gut.
Strep isn’t something any of us hope to deal with, but you can treat it naturally without that trip to CVS.
How Have You Beat Strep Throat in Your Home?
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor (yet), but you should find one you trust that understands, listens and treats you how you’d like. Do not tolerate medical bullying. This is not intended to be medical advice nor to treat, cure, diagnose nor prevent any disease. Please make your medical decisions with research, a trusted physician, and common sense.