This One Treatment Works For All Infections
Swallowing is a common, and essential, function. But add a sore throat to the mix and each bite of food becomes an intensely uncomfortable experience. Sometimes the pain can be so intense we actively try to stop swallowing.
As a sore throat develops, our first thought is often STREP. We visit the doctor, who will do a throat swab and prescribe antibiotics if the test is positive, and usually the problem goes away.
But a study by the Infectious Disease Society of America found that for every 10 people plagued with a sore throat, only around two actually have strep and may require antibiotics. The rest most likely have viral infections, which do not respond at all to antibiotics.
Bacterial vs. viral
Moving beyond the simple fact that millions of people are taking ineffective medicines, we need to be concerned with antibiotic overuse. If we abuse antibiotics when we don’t need them, it’s a very real possibility they won’t be there for us when we do need them.
Bacterial infections are generally quite localized. Strep is usually characterized by throat pain and fever. If you think you have strep then yes, go see the doctor and get tested. It’s important to know what you have so you can take the proper course to resolve the infection.
If you have a viral infection, often the best course of action is to let it resolve itself. You can increase your comfort level by treating your symptoms. Throat-numbing sprays can cut down on your pain and fever reducer is helpful as well.
However there is one treatment that works perfectly for both bacterial and viral infections, and that’s boosting your body’s immune system.
Taking the following steps to fortify your immune system can shorten the course of either type of infection and help you to avoid another bout.
Let’s start with vitamin C and zinc. Vitamin C supports immunity, mitigates symptoms and can soothe irritated mucus membranes. Zinc lozenges are also quite helpful at subduing the pain associate with a sore throat as well as providing an important nutrient for supporting healthy immune function
Along with vitamin C and zinc, there are a variety of items that support the immune system. First stop is medicinal mushrooms, including reishi, cordyceps, maitake, coriolus, agaricus and umbellatus. In addition to tuning up immunity, they also help reduce inflammation and contain powerful antioxidants. Consuming mushrooms on a regular basis by incorporating them into your daily diet or supplement regimen, is one of the best things you can do to support your overall health and immune function.
Fighting bacteria and viruses
Many herbs and botanicals have a direct antibacterial and/or antiviral effect. Garlic has long been known for its ability to combat bacteria. Raw honey is also useful against some bacterial infections.
Echinacea has been popular for many years for its ability to ward off colds. This immune supportive effect can also be applied against sore throats. Echinacea is generally taken on an as needed basis rather than for ongoing preventive use. Elderberry is another time honored remedy.
Probiotic bacteria help maintain microbial balance in the mouth and throat which supports the integrity of the mucous membranes.
In the food arena, we definitely have winners and losers when it comes to staying healthy throughout the winter season. It is well known that sugar suppresses immunity and promotes inflammation. In addition, white flour products, rated high on the glycemic index, turn to sugar quickly in your system. Grains in general are often problematic and mucous producing, so small amounts of whole grains such as quinoa, amaranth, and oats are best, supplying essential nutrients.
Nourishing soups and stews using root vegetables along with greens such as kale, collards or spinach, with a protein source such as beans and lentils, or organic chicken, can provide hearty nutrient filled meals. Add in some mushrooms for additional immune support.
Sore throats are no fun, but we have an entire spectrum of helpful items, from foods we may already eat to a whole series of vitamins, minerals, herbs and botanicals. Keep these on hand and make them a part of your everyday regimen during the sore throat season.