Strep throat is an infection that causes sore throat or pharyngitis. It is usually called an infection of the tonsils and throat. Strep throat is caused by bacteria living in the nose and throat known as group A streptococcus. Just like other bacterial infections, you can get the disease from a person infected with strep A bacteria or a person who is a carrier of the bacteria. This infection spreads when a person with the infection sneezes or coughs. The individual releases some saliva or mucosal, introducing the bacteria into the air.
You can also infect yourself with the disease, if you touch something that a person with strep throat has sneezed or coughed upon and then touch your mouth, eyes or nose with the same hand. If you share glasses or utensils with infected people, you are at high risk of developing the infection.
Strep throat is very common in children and rare to adults. The conditions major sign is sore throat. Viruses and colds may also cause sore throat, but the difference is that a runny nose will occur in cold and viral infections. With strep you get a sore throat quickly, which makes it hurt when you swallow.
Other signs and symptoms to this condition are:
- Fever elevating body temperature to 101 F and above
- Red and swollen tonsils
- White patches on your throat
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Small red spots on the upper area of the mouth
Regardless of the cause, your first concern when strep throat strikes is how you can get well fast. You may feel that seeing the doctor is the best option, but there is a possibility that you can live with the condition and get well with time.
Presented below are 10 tips you can apply and live a healthy life with strep throat. These tips can lead you to a speedy recovery if followed.
1. Use sprays and lozenges
If you suckle on cough drops you stimulate the production of saliva, which can help you keep the throat moist. However, some varieties will not be as effective as hard candies. For your own benefit and taste, you may get some brands that contain numbing and cooling effects like eucalyptus and menthol.
Some of the over-the-counter sprays can be better for relieving your sore throat. One good example is a chloraseptic that produces a similar effect as cooling lozenges. The spray may not cure your strep throat but it will help reduce the pain and fight the underlying cold. An active ingredient for chloraseptic is phenol, an antiseptic with antibacterial properties.
2. Drink plenty of water/fluids
One of the major purposes for water is to clear your throat of any dust or other particles. Ensuring that your properly hydrated is also another reason why you should consume plenty of water. When you have strep throat, your throat is inflamed and irritated. Enough fluid in your body will keep your mucosal membranes moist and more capable of fighting bacteria and allergens. Moistened mucous membranes will also make your throat a better tool to fight other cold symptoms as well. Apart from water you can also use other fluids. However, water is the best fluid in comparison to others. You may decide to add something for flavor like a fruit juice for sweetness, or chicken soup for a salty taste.
Chicken soup or chicken broth can also help sooth your sore throat. The soup contains sodium salts that have anti-inflammatory properties and can help you feel better with time. When you have strep throat, the swelling of your throat will cause difficulty when attempting to swallow solid food, it is recommended to use chicken soup for a meal that is gentle on the throat. Chicken soup can also give you extra nutrients that can help fight bacterial infections causing strep throat.
3. Use painkillers and anti-inflammatories
One of the best and most effective ways to cure your strep throat is by use of anti-inflammatories. You may decide to use some of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) to cure this condition. Examples of the best over-the-counter NSAIDS are Advil and Aleve. Many NSAIDS are a combination of anti-inflammatories and pain killers, these will make you feel better fast and reduce any inflammation as a result of strep throat. In case you have any other underlying disease and fever that is increasing the symptoms, NSAIDs will help reduce any pain and make you feel better.
4. Take a rest
Resting might not be the quickest way to cure your strep throat but it will do you good. Getting enough rest is a positive thing you can do to fight the bacterial or viral infection that causes strep throat. Most of your sore throats are caused by cold viruses. Unfortunately, there is no medications to cure sore throats. However, giving your body enough rest can at least help you battle the viruses and get well sooner.
5. Take a regular salt gargle
According to several scientific studies, gargling several times a day with warm salt water can help reduce inflammation caused by strep throat. Salt gargling can also loosen your throat mucous and help battle bacteria and other irritants such as allergens.
Many doctors may recommend you dissolve half a teaspoon of table salt in a single cup of water for an effective treatment for sore throat. If the taste of salt is bad or unpleasant for your palate, you can add a small amount of natural honey to make the mixture slightly sweet. Honey has antibacterial properties. It also reduces swelling by drawing fluid from inflamed tissue. Honey has long been recommended for those suffering with throat ailments. You should always remember to spit out the salt water after gargling instead of swallowing.
Consider trying the discussed health tips above. These tips may help relieve or even cure your strep throat. If symptoms only intensify however, it is important that you seek advice from a medical professional.