What is “strep throat” exactly? 

The dead of winter is upon us and with it you might have noticed strep throat running it’s way amongst family, friends, and colleagues. But what is “strep” exactly? Well, strep is a bacteria we all have present in our bodies. When you come down with strep throat it means you have caught a virus which causes an overgrowth of the strep bacteria.

Simply said, when you “get strep throat” two things are happening: 

  1. Your body has a virus that affects your throat, and
  2. This virus allows an overgrowth of the strep bacteria.

You know you feel awful when it strikes, so what can you do? The good news is there are natural care options to help your body fight its way back to health. 

Why does strep spread so quickly?

A virus is famous for spreading quickly from person to person—this is why it’s common to see several students in a class out with strep throat all within the same timeframe. The combination of dry indoor air (bacteria and viruses love to live and thrive in a dry throat versus the body’s natural coating), close playing proximity, and a lack of outdoor fresh air can amp up the presence and spread of virus induced strep.

A culture or swab test can be faulty information to go by for several reasons. The strep bacteria growth can fluctuate moment to moment. So depending on where they swab and where the strep is growing, a “little strep” in a culture does not necessarily mean a minimal infection.

How can natural care help the body fight strep throat?

We want to support the body to beat both the strep bacteria and the underlying virus. With natural care we commonly see results by gargling liquid zinc to help fight the virus and Colloidal Silver to reduce the strep bacteria growth (we carry both of these supplements at the clinic). If that’s not enough, we may use dietary supplements and traditional Chinese herbals to further support the body’s ability to clear viral content and reduce strep amounts.

There’s nothing wrong with choosing an antibiotic to fight strep if that’s what you are most comfortable doing. Just know that the antibiotic will only treat the strep bacteria—not the virus. Antibiotics are tough on the digestion system because they cool the stomach. So taking ginger* to warm your digestion while on the medication can greatly help your stomach and reduce rebound infections. It’s also a good idea to treat the virus as well and Vitamins A, C, D, and gargling liquid zinc can help with this.

If you’ve gone the antibiotic route, once you’re feeling better you might want to consider finding a probiotic to help rebuild your stomach bacteria. The best probiotic fit varies from person to person. We carry several options here at the clinic, but an appointment with Dr. Brad will help insure you find the very best fit for your body. 

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*Taking ginger. You can work more ginger into your diet by dicing up fresh ginger and adding it to hot water to make your own ginger tea. Add some honey or a dash cinnamon to that cup of tea, yum! Or grab some ginger chews to suck on or put in hot water for kids (we carry these at the clinic as well!). 

Photo credit.