A strep throat is a bacterial infection of the throat caused by the streptococcus group of bacteria. The common symptoms of strep throat are burning in the throat, itching, pain and difficulties in swallowing. In most cases, the infection is self-limiting i.e. it runs its course and gets all right within 7-8 days. Symptomatically, the infection can be severe and can become very uncomfortable to bear for the sufferer.Here are some ways and means by which you can relieve a strep throat.
Tips to Relieve Strep Throat
Hot Water Saline Gargles
Hot water saline gargles are the best way to tackle a strep throat. Take one teaspoon of salt in a glass of moderately hot water and gargle with this water every one hour especially if your symptoms are very acute and severe. If you have had post nasal drip, your throat is likely to feel irritated and sore and gargles can effectively come to your rescue.
Keep the Infected Throat Moist
The throat will feel severely painful and scratchy if it is dry. Therefore, it is imperative that you take in adequate quantities of warm fluids and drinks throughout the day. These include soups, warm water and luke warm lime juice, which will help to boost your immunity. Keep sipping on hot fluids, as they are likely to ease your sore throat.
Use a Humidifier
If the climate is very dry and cold, your throat infection can flare up. The symptoms too are likely to worsen. Always keep the air in your room moist and humid. For this purpose, you can use a humidifier in your room.
On the other hand, a warm or cool mist is likely to make you feel comfortable especially if you are battling hot weather outside. Just ensure that the room does not become too cold or damp. You can use a steamer or place a pan of warm water in your room to humidify it and reduce your own discomfort.
Stay Away from All Forms of Smoke
The worst irritants for a strep throat are smoke from various sources. Smoke from car fumes and excessive pollution can immediately flare up a strep throat that was seemingly in recession. You also need to make concerted efforts to stay away from passive second hand smoke. Ban smoking in your house especially if you are a smoker yourself. The smoke from nicotine can aggravate and irritate the throat and lead to severe pain. Stay away from other people who smoke.
Treat the Acid Reflux
At times acidity and acute heartburn push or force the stomach acids back into the throat and the food pipe. The acids are corrosive and can irritate the throat. If you suspect heartburn or acid reflux to be the culprit, get yourself treated for the same as soon as possible.
Throat lozenges like Vicks and strepsils can prove to be very effective against a strep throat. Suck on them continuously. They help to enhance saliva production and keep the throat moist. They also contain menthol, which helps to give relief from a sore throat.
If your throat ache or pain is very severe, speak to your doctor and take an OTC painkiller like ibuprofen, which is said to be very effective against a sore throat. These painkillers will at least give you some temporary respite and make you sleep well at night.
If the infection is very severe, you may have to take a course of prescription antibiotics to bring down the swelling and the pain in the throat. Acute cases of strep throat can be very excruciating making it difficult for you to gulp down fluids or swallow foods. In such cases, antibiotics can be used to reverse the infection. A course of 3-5 days will be given depending on the severity of the infection.
Keep your Throat Covered
It is also very important to keep the throat region covered with a muffler or a shawl during harsh winters. This will keep the region warm and prevent the infection from flaring up and causing further problems.
Have a herbal tea made from spices such as basil, pepper and cinnamon. You can also have chamomile tea, which is very soothing on the throat and gives immediate relief. You can prepare these herbal teas at home itself and keep sipping on them throughout the day. Another great option as a home remedy for sore throat is turmeric milk. Add a pinch of turmeric to the milk and sip on this milk throughout the day. This will give you immediate relief from a sore and scratchy throat.
You could be suffering from flu along with the strep throat. Cough and can make your symptoms worse. In such cases, make sure that you do some form of steam inhalation. Take the pan and heat some boiling water in it. Once the water has been boiled, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the water. Cover your head with a towel and take in the steam keeping your face at a safe distance to prevent it from being scalded by the hot steam. Do steam inhalation 3-4 times in a day for best results. The steam will help to reduce your nasal congestion and give you relief from a sore throat.
Stick to Soft Foods
Make sure that the foods you are eating are soft. Stick to broths and liquids if your infection is very severe. Stay away from refined, spicy and fatty foods as they not only aggravate your sore throat but also provide a breeding environment for the bacteria to thrive in. Eat soft foods, as very solid food will irritate your throat. Stick to a bland diet with minimal spices. With the help of the above measures and tips, you can easily overcome a sore throat. In case you get no relief, see a doctor who will investigate and prescribe some antibiotics to kill the infection. In 8-10 days, the infection generally subsides on its own.