Strep throat is one of the more unpleasant cold and flu like illnesses out there, leaving most of those who catch it with such terrible throat pain and soreness that even if they can talk, they won’t want to while they’re sick. Many times strep is confused for a severe cold or flu because of their similar symptoms, even though strep throat will give a lot more severe throat soreness than any typical cold or flu. Strep throat has a chance of developing into rheumatic fever (which can damage the heart itself) so we like to express serious concern for managing symptoms and preventing the spread of the infection to other people.
How Long Is Strep Throat Contagious?
One of the biggest problems with strep throat is that it is quite contagious and you can remain contagious for a long time. With most colds and even flu, you may not be contagious anymore after the first few days of symptoms. How long is strep throat contagious? You may continue being contagious for 10-15 days after you STOP feeling any symptoms. Because of this it is very important to keep proper illness hygiene when you are sick, and during cold and flu season even if you aren’t sick.
The symptoms of the illness themselves last a varying number of days, depending on how well your body responds. Some people will manage to only feel such severe symptoms for two to three days while others may not feel back on their feet for well over a week. Those who take antibiotics will no longer be contagious 24-48 hours after taking their medicine and will stop being sick much sooner. We have spoken before about the risks involved with antibiotics, because of their generally untargeted nature and their effect on gut ecology and overall health, but with the potential for rheumatic fever, the choice is understandable on either side.
How Can I Treat Strep Throat?
The first step is always rest and hydration. So many people try to soldier on through their illness, but aside from making them feel even more miserable, this splits the bodies resources and both slows down its recovery and increases the chance the infection will gain a foothold and lead to further complications (increasing the chance of rheumatic fever). Likewise hydration is key for keeping bodily functions going, especially during such intense periods of operation as fighting an infection. Keeping hydrated will also thin mucus and decrease the chance of mucus causing extra coughing and overall throat irritation.
The next step is to follow any traditional cold and flu remedies that you know work for you, as these all mostly target the symptoms themselves, which are in large part shared by strep throat. One of our favorites is to apply a warm compress (warm wet wash cloth) to the forehead and face to relieve any sinus or head pain. Beyond these our main focus is to treat throat pain and discomfort to minimize complications.
Using a cold water humidifier or vaporizer along with vapor filled showers can help cut down on congestion. Our favorite throat remedy is homemade cough syrup made from equal ratios of honey and apple cider vinegar (preferably both being local, raw, and unfiltered). Take one tablespoon every 4 hours as needed. Other popular treatments include gargling with a salt water mixture, which will help break up mucus as needed. Cold beverages, popsicles and lozenges are also well worth enjoying.
An extra line of defense and attack against the strep infection is to go herbal. Licorice, slippery elm, and marshmallow will all reduce throat inflammation and irritation, and are stronger when used together. Garlic and Echinacea have been found by clinical studies to actually fight the strep infection itself. Add these to your line of treatment and you will be feeling much better and will reduce the chances of a longer infection and complications.
Originally published on NaturalPapa
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