Friday, 12 April 2013

Strep throat remedy

The main reason for the lack of blog posts during February and all of March is illness.  Small and I were unfortunate enough to succumb to what the doctor referred to as the "winter bug" back in the autumn and the damned thing seems to have gone round, and round again, ever since, leaving me with very little in the way of energy or inclination.

During the later part of March, I felt yet another sore throat coming on, at the tail end of a very long cold which left me full of mucous and with very painful sinusitis.  Small had been similarly afflicted, and had been thoroughly bunged up for almost four weeks, and we both developed swollen tonsils.

Fortunately we already had an appointment with the doctor, as after a couple of days, the tell-tale white goo of strep throat appeared, and we both ended up on antibiotics.

Now I don't really like taking antibiotics.  Sure, they do a great job of getting rid of bacterial infection, but they have been hugely over-prescribed in the past, with many patients with viral infections - for which antibiotics have no effect - being prescribed them unnecessarily.  Additionally, too many courses of antibiotics can themselves cause complications as they destroy the "good" bacteria along with the bad.

Anyway, after only 24 hours, the yucky mess had cleared up and I finished the course of treatment, only to develop another sore throat which turned yucky within 24 hours.  I certainly didn't want yet another course of antibiotics, so I searched the web for a herbal or home-remedy alternative.

While some of the concoctions sounded downright awful, one that kept appearing again and again for both sore throats and strep-throat was gargling with dilute apple cider vinegar (ACV).  It was 11pm when I read about this remedy, so I  decided to try it and see what happened, gargling a couple of times before I went to bed.
Apple Cider Vinegar gargle
I continued gargling hourly the following day, and within 24 hours the strep goo had gone, although my throat was still very sore.  After a further 24 hours of hourly gargling, my throat finally felt considerably better and the inflammation had gone too.

I should probably have carried on the gargling for another day, as although my throat felt much better, it was beginning to feel a little sore again by the evening of day 3, so back to the gargle I went!

The remedy does seem to have worked though, and although the vinegary taste is a bit of a shock to the tastebuds at first, it's not unpleasant and I was able to use quite a strong solution, probably 1/4 vinegar in a half-full tumbler of warm water.

If you decide to try it for yourself, do remember to rinse your mouth out after gargling, with either clean water or a mouthwash, as the acid in the vinegar is not good for tooth enamel.

Another tip I read about is to eat probiotic yoghurt.  Some claim this alone can cure a strep throat - which amuses me as the yoghurt I have contains a good Streptococcus bacterium, whereas the one that causes strep throat is a bad Streptococcus bacterium.  Ho-hum. Nature is a weird thing!

Whether the yoghurt actually does any good against strep throat on its own or not, I do not know.  I've been eating it anyway as it's recommended as a restorative measure to replace the "good" bacteria killed by indiscriminate antibiotics.  And Ann Forshaw's probiotic yoghurt, which I picked up at Tesco the other day is definitely very yummy, which is saying something when you consider I'm not a big fan of yoghurt.

Until next time. x

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