Q.: Our five-year-old son is getting a sore throat very often. Swimming in a pool during hot summer days, drinking cold water or eating ice cream make him sick right away. He is taking antibiotics almost every time because the doctor says he is strep-positive. The Ear Nose Throat Specialist had strongly suggested getting his tonsils removed but we are not ready for the surgery and are willing to try a homeopathic medicine. Please help!
Dear parents, I have been asked about strep throat so many times, that I would like to bring this topic to your attention. I hope that this article will give you a better idea of how to identify the problem and help your child’s recovery.
As you have probably heard, most sore throats that accompany a cold or flu are caused by viral infections. Statistics show that only about five to ten percent of sore throats are caused by a bacterial infection. In spite of the fact that antibiotics have no effect on viruses, they have been prescribed routinely to treat sore throats in many cases.
Why do we have tonsils?
The tonsils help to intercept germs since they enter your body through the nose and throat. It is a pair of oval clamps of lymphatic tissue located at the back and to the sides of your throat. The tonsils contain special infection-fighting cells that stop the spread of the germs further into the body.
While many people use the terms sore throat, tonsillitis, and strep throat interchangeably, there are significant differences between these conditions.
What is Tonsillitis?
If your tonsils are overwhelmed by a bacterial or viral infection, they become red, sore, and swollen. This inflammation is called tonsillitis, or simply a sore throat. This is not a specific term, because there are many causes of tonsil inflammation, such viral or bacterial infections.
What is a Strep Throat?
The Strep throat is a type of tonsillitis caused by a group of Streptococcus bacteria.
How would I know that it is a Strep Throat?
A true streptococcal infection of the throat often leads to
- Excruciating throat pain accompanied by difficulty swallowing and even speaking.
- Swollen and painful lymph nodes on your neck.
- A child can develop a high fever.
- The tonsils look very red covered with a whitish-yellowish layer of pus.
To confirm that what your child has is strep throat, doctors usually do a rapid strep test.
Who gets Strep Throat?
Tonsillitis caused by Streptococcus species typically occurs in children aged five to fifteen, while viral tonsillitis is more common in younger children.
Is the Strep Throat contagious?
Yes. It usually spreads to another person by droplet transmission while he/she is sneezing, coughing, or exhaling. You can also get the bacteria, if you share the same forks, spoons, or straws with a sick person.
How to prevent the spread of the Strep Throat to other children
- Do not share utensils, drinking glasses, toothbrushes, etc., with anyone who has tonsillitis or a sore throat.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and teach your children to do the same.
- Proper hand washing is still the best way to prevent all kinds of infections, including tonsillitis.
- Avoid people with known tonsillitis or bacterial sore throats, if susceptible to one.
Why is it difficult to get rid of Strep Throat?
The name of the bacteria comes from the Greek strepto- meaning twisted and coccus- meaning berry. That is exactly what Strep bacteria look like under the microscope: a twisted bunch of little round berries. It can live in your throat and on your skin.
- Antibiotics sometimes are necessary in a bad case of strep throat. However, they kill beneficial bacteria along with the pathogens and disrupt the immune system! Studies have shown that when antibiotics are given for strep throat, the infection tends to recur more often than when they are not prescribed.
- Many antibiotics also tend to create resistant strains of bacteria and do not work effectively when they are really needed.
- One of the most complicating issues is that strep bacteria typically do not disappear completely following a course of antibiotics. The bacteria will persist even after signs of the infection have disappeared. Some children will be always positive for the bacteria, which means they chronically “carry” a small amount of strep bacteria. Taking another antibiotic even though there is no active infection disrupts your immune function further.
How do I get better?
There are many natural ways to improve your health. Medicinal herbs, acupuncture, Chinese medicine are good examples of alternative medicine.
The beauty of Homeopathic medicine is not only a quick relief in an acute case, but more importantly, an effective way to get rid of strep throat in the long run. Gentle strengthening of the immune system prevents a child from getting sick. He/she simply stops developing strep throat because the body is able to fight it off!
- Get plenty of rest. Sleep helps the body fight infections. Your child should stay home until there's no sign of fever and he or she feels better.
- Drink plenty of warm, soothing liquids. Soup, broth and tea are good choices.
- Avoid foods that weaken the immune system: refined and processed foods, dairy, sugar and high fat products.
- If your child is old enough to have mastered gargling, doing this several times a day may help relieve throat pain. Be sure to tell your child to spit out the liquid after gargling. Sage, Tea tree oil and Calendula are good choices. Homeopathic mother tinctures such as Phytolacca Decandra, Salvia Officinalis and Calendula are very soothing and healing for the sore throat as well.
- Homeopathic treatment is extremely effective in relieving the symptoms of sore throats and stimulating a complete and quick recovery.
- Belladonna is one of the remedies I prescribe when the throat is inflamed, red, painful and the child is running a high fever.
- Mercurius solubilis is by far the most frequently indicated medicine for children's sore throats. Characteristic symptoms include a bad odor from your mouth and swollen lymph nodes.
Please contact me today for more information at 416-227-1485. I will be more then happy to help your child feel better.
This information is not to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or if you symptoms persist.