My son is prone to strep throat, how do I help him without resorting to antibiotics?
Strep throat (pharyngitis) is an ailment characterized by inflammation of the pharynx (throat). This infection is common in school kids. The bacteria that cause Strep throat (group A streptococcus are highly contagious and the schoolyard is a perfect breeding ground. Therefore it is very important to teach your child the importance of hand washing.
A sore throat (pharyngitis) is an ailment characterised by inflammation of the throat (pharanyx - the passageway that connects the oral and nasal cavities) and many cases are caused by viruses such as Adenoviruses & Rhinoviruses, from Streptococcus Bacteria or as a result of Candida over proliferation (thrush, bloating, wind). Many people experience this symptom as a result of the common cold, flu viruses, glandular fever, chronic fatigue, swollen glands, tonsillitis, chronic smoking habits, exposure to allergens. Most cases occur during the colder months and often spread among family members. Usually symptoms are short lived and will disappear without any complications. However, long term pharyngitis may lead to further complications and therefore requires attention if it lasts for longer than one week. A doctor will prescribe antibiotics for this complaint, however antibiotics are effective on bacterial infections only, and do not have an effect on viruses (e.g. tonsilitis).
Diet tips for a sore throat:
- Eat plenty of garlic, ginger and onions, as the sulphur contained in these vegetables helps to reduce the severity of upper respiratory tract infections, improve the immune systems ability to fight off an infection
- Reduce the amount of dairy foods in the diet as it is mucus forming foods which contribute to congestion. Even if you have an unproductive cough or no mucus with a sore throat, by reducing the amount of dairy foods we consume we are able to support the immune and lymphatic system to recover and reduce congestion
- Ensure adequate hydration
- Concentrate on an alkaline diet and decrease acid forming foods. Try to lighten the load on your digestion and concentrate on easy to digest foods such as soups, vegetable juices, warm lemon juice drinks, vegetable broths and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables
- Manuka honey in a warm glass of water and add some lemon and ginger too. This helps to soothe the throat, reduces inflammation and promote circulation. Manuka honey is a powerful anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-bacterial
Lifestyle factors for a sore throat
- Ensure that you get enough rest so the immune system is stronger
- Avoid cigarette smoking
- Treat underlying immune insufficiency
- Keep warm and avoid cold, damp and windy environments
Herbs to improve immunity and reduce succeptibility to respiratory infections
- Herbs such as Astragalus, Reishi mushrooms, Olive leaf, Golden Seal and Codonopsis improve overall immune health, modulate immunity and reduce succeptibility to reoccuring respiratory infections
- Probiotics are important, especially if they have recently had a course of antibiotics, as this improves immunity by ensuring a healthy balance of bacteria. Low levels of healthy bacteria may cause a relapse into illness due to low resistance
- Colloidal silver may be beneficial to help kill off the detrimental bacteria that cause a sore throat
- Zinc is a mineral which is commonly deficient when immunity is low as it is required for healing, immune support and is also a powerful anti-inflammatory
- Vitamin helps to stimulate immunity and increase resistance to pathogens
- Throat lozenges which contain anti-infective agents help to soothe the throat, some lozenges contain Zinc, Echinacea, vitamin C, Eucalyptus oil, Thyme & Astragalus. It is important not to purchase a lozenge which contains sugar as sugar will feed the infection