Strep throat refers to an infection of the tissue in the throat by group A streptococcus bacteria. Not all sore throats are caused by bacterial infection and diagnosis cannot be confirmed without a throat culture. Home remedies for strep throat may include compresses, gargles, and herbs.
Symptoms of strep throat may include difficulty swallowing, sudden fever, nausea, rash, red throat with white patches, discomfort in throat, and loss of appetite. Some sore throats are caused by viruses, which do not require antibiotic treatment. Strep throat usually requires antibiotics to treat the infection and prevent complications, however, home remedies may be used in conjunction with medical treatment to relieve symptoms.
Many home remedies for strep throat feature drinking warm liquids. Honey or lemon tea may soothe discomfort. Licorice or honeysuckle teas may also help alleviate soreness. One homemade tea recipe calls for the juice of one-quarter of a lemon, one teaspoon (tsp) of apple cider vinegar, one tsp of honey, and a pinch of dried cayenne pepper.
Gargles may also be used as home remedies for strep throat. An easy mixture of one-half tsp of salt dissolved in one cup of warm water can be used several times per day. A gargle made of one-half tsp of dried cayenne or chili pepper and a cup of warm water may seem surprising, but the capsaicin in the peppers helps to numb a sore throat.
Another item on the list of home remedies for strep throat is a cool-mist vaporizer. Often, sore throats are dry, and this dryness causes pain. A vaporizer can help keep the throat moist, especially during sleep.
Home remedies for strep throat may also include the use of herbs. Slippery elm, sometimes included in lozenges found in natural foods stores, contains soothing mucilage in its inner bark. Sage throat sprays have also been found to relieve sore throat pain.
If a sore throat persists for more than a few days, consider seeing a doctor for an examination and throat culture. Any time there is difficulty in breathing or swallowing, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible. Other symptoms that suggest the need for medical evaluation include blood in saliva, rash, fever, or any strep throat symptoms after exposure to an individual who has been diagnosed with strep throat. A doctor may need to prescribe an antibiotic to clear such an infection.
Strep throat is contagious, and precautions should be taken to prevent the spread of the infection. Contact, saliva, and secretions are the main modes of spreading strep. Good hand-washing, isolating the infected person’s toothbrush from others, and common sense are the best tools to prevent people from becoming infected.