By Julia Vinokur

I wanted to write a post on Strep Throat and how we managed to fight it without antibiotics.  As you may know, Strep is a very contagious disease caused by streptococcus bacteria.  The symptoms could be different, but generally you get a high fever and pain in your throat, inflamed lymph nodes, and red or swollen tonsils.  The problem is that many types of virus can cause the same symptoms, and only a doctor visit can determine the bacterial infection using a “Strep Test.”

Types of Strep Infection

Apparently, there are different types of Strep, including Group A, Group B, Group C, etc. Strep A is the most serious of the different types, and if left untreated can lead to serious complications.  Strep A can be determined within 5 minutes in the doctor’s office using a fast topical test.  Although the test can give a false positive or a false negative result, suspicion of Strep A is usually enough to prescribe antibiotics, given the severity of repercussions.   Confirmation of other types of Strep (e.g. B, C and G, for example) requires a more lengthy test done at a lab.  It takes about 2 days to get the results back.  Although other groups of Strep infection are not as dangerous, and usually go away on their own with minimal treatment, a doctor will probably prescribe antibiotics anyway, assuming either a false negative result for Strep A, or another group infection is present.

Our experience this year was as follows: My daughter got a 101-102F fever at night, complaining about her throat.  As usual, I waited for a couple of days before going to a doctor’s office, and started with home remedies to ease the symptoms.  She gargled with baking soda and sea salt, I gave her lots of vitamin C and D.  On the third day she had on and off fever and I took her to the doctor’s office.  The quick on-site Strep A test was returned as negative, but given the symptoms the doctor assumed that our daughter had one of the other types, which are not as dangerous as Group A, but could warrant antibiotics in some cases.  My younger daughter never took antibiotics, as I believe they should be reserved for life threatening situations as not to build up resistance to them and not to destroy immune system.  I discussed with the doctor whether we could wait for another day and see how my daughter would feel, while we waited for the lab results to confirm the actual Strep infection.

Home Remedies:

As we got home, we started to apply more home remedies in order to target this particular infection.  Here are some tips:

  1. Mix ½ glass of warm water with 1 TBS of apple cider vinegar. Gargle every 20-30 minutes.
  2. Get Lugol’s solution of iodine. Apply inside of the throat lining 3 times per day (try to apply on white spots).  I just used a regular paint brush.  Iodine has strong antibacterial properties that will fight strep.
  3. During day and night I applied a compress on my daughters neck. I used the following solution: ½ glass of lukewarm water, 2 TBS of apple cider vinegar, 1 TBS of sea salt. Take Gauze or Cheese cloth, or even cut a piece of a kitchen towel and soak it  in that solution.  Cover top part of the neck, and secure with a scarf.  Make sure the scarf totally covers wet fabric. This compress will serve several purposes. First of all, it will help to bring the fever down.  Second, compress will activate blood circulation and oxygenization inside the glands, helping to get read of the toxins and to fight the strep bacteria.
  4. Continue with Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Cod liver oil.
  5. Echinacea tea is always helpful to boost the immune system.

Fever was gone during the night, and my daughter was feeling better the next morning.  I continued with the treatments for another 2 days till all the white spots were gone from her throat (at a suggestion of a friend I used my iPhone flashlight function to help me see the throat better, and it worked great).

Days later the lab test results came back, confirming that our daughter had the Group C strep infection, which did not require antibiotics in the first place (though taking them would have helped with keeping the infection contained).

Several days later my older daughter got sick with the same symptoms: high fever, sore throat, headaches.  This time, I assumed it was Strep C (checked her throat and found white spots) and started to apply home remedies right away.  She had a fever the first day, feeling better the next with fever in the evening and night.  Third day – no fever just weakness, and on the fourth day she wanted to run and jump.  I continued with the treatments for 5 days, leaving just the morning and evening gargling regimen for another 2.  Her throat was clear on the 5th day.

After the symptoms are gone (regardless of whether you take antibiotics or not), it is very important to remember that a body is recovering from bacteria.  Even though it seems that your child is ready to run a marathon, it is very important to keep activities low-key for another several days: no afterschool activities, no running outside, and no gym.

I hope these tips with help you to speed up the recovery for your child.