Strep throat is no picnic in the park, but it's also very common and easily treated, so that you can get to that picnic soon. Strep throat symptoms include a severe sore throat, difficulty swallowing, fever, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and white or yellowish spots on the throat (pus). It's not fun at any age, so if you or your child are suffering from a sore throat and have all of the signs of strep, there are ways to help feel more comfortable and get better faster (with or without medication.)
If you have been diagnosed with strep throat, your doctor will probably prescribe an antibiotic course for ten days to kill the bad bacteria and help prevent the spread. Strep can go away on its own, but when you or your little ones are hurting, there are a handful of ways to soothe and treat strep throat at home using common household ingredients or supplements. Along with over-the-counter pain medications like Advil or Tylenol, throat lozenges, or numbing throat spray, check out Checkable's Guide to Soothing Strep Throat. These at-home remedies can be used in conjunction with antibiotics or alone.
10 Effective Ways to Soothe & Treat Strep Throat Fast
- Drink water: Water is your best friend when you are sick, along with sleep (see #10.) Staying hydrated is the best way to flush the bacteria out faster and cool your throat. If a little one is sick, try diluted apple juice.
- Ice pops: Yes, go for ice cream, fro-yo, or popsicles. Frozen foods numb the tissues and nerves to reduce sore throat pain.
- Drink or eat apple cider vinegar: Studies show that ACV helps cure sore throats by killing germs and bacteria as it goes down. Tip: Try Checkable's apple cider vinegar gummies for the perfect dose!
- Honey: There is evidence that proves that honey aids in relieving sore throats. It has antibacterial properties and leaves a protective coating as you swallow it down.
- Drink warm fluids: Eat soup (mom's chicken soup), and sip on tea; anything warm will also help soothe sore throats. Herbal teas with chamomile, elm inner bark, marshmallow, and licorice root, can help with inflammation and pain. Bonus: Add honey to your tea for a two-for-one.
- Gargle with salt water: Gargling with salt water helps reduce swelling and increases the pH balance of your mouth, making it harder for bacteria to survive.
- Vitamins: Vitamin C, in particular, will help boost your immune system. Eat foods like oranges, kale, strawberries, grapefruit, and kiwi if you don't have any "C" on-hand in pill or gummy form. Warning: Citrus might burn with strep
- Add supplements: Echinacea and elderberry have anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent the spread of bacterial conditions while boosting your immune system.
- Essential Oils: Breathing in oils like eucalyptus and peppermint can help reduce swelling in the throat and provide a cooling and calming sensation. These oils can also be added to humidifiers.
- Sleep: Along with water, getting extra sleep and rest will help treat strep and sore throats. Sleeping lets your body heal and get the rest it needs to fight off the bacteria.
Those helpful home remedies should soothe your sore throat so that you can get back to good. Don't forget to finish all of your medications, rest, and stay hydrated!