Friday, November 4, 2011

Strep Throat Season

Rumor on the streets is that strep throat is making its way through our schools and inevitably coming home to spread throughout the family. Strep throat is caused by a highly contagious bacteria called group A beta-hemolytic streptococcus bacteria. Its symptoms include swollen and tender lymph nodes, fever, sore throat, headache, fatigue, diarrhea, and nausea. In the event that you think you or any of your family has strep, I do feel it important to go into your medical doctor to get a culture and potential antibiotics.

There are a few things you can do to help prevent getting strep throat and speed recovery if you've been diagnosed with it. First thing that's important to remember is that allowing your body to be sick and heal as naturally as possible is better in the long term. Your immune system is like a muscle in the sense that you've got to use it and work it to get stronger. In fact, symptoms like coughing, diarrhea, fever, vomiting, excess mucus, etc are actually signs that our body is kicking some metaphorical butt in the disease department. Think about symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and coughing. They are our body's way of getting things out of our system quickly however possible. It is our body's natural rejection system for infectious invaders. Same goes for a fever. When our internal temperature rises, it is our body's way of turning up the heat to a level that infectious invaders cannot survive at. By suppressing a fever or cough, you are only getting in the way of your body actively fighting for your health.

Now that you understand that your body is intensely fighting for your health while you're expressing symptoms of illness, you know why you need to rest, hydrate, and decrease stimulation while sick. Your body is already focused on something important, so adding more stimulation and stress will only pull attention away from fighting the illness. In addition to getting lots of sleep and drinking plenty of water and warm fluids, make sure to keep foods simple. You don't want to burden your digestive track with complex foods to digest, as it only draws attention away from fighting infection. This is why the old wives tale of soup while sick actually has some merit. Warm, easily digestible foods like brothy soup are very helpful to the immune system.

Also be sure to give your immune system proper support it needs by getting echinacea, vitamin C, zinc, licorice root, or ginger root.

 Brew your own tea:  Add 1/4 tsp of each item below to boiled water, let steep, and strain:
  • sage
  • oregano
  • thyme
  • marjoram
  • rosemary
  • lemon
  • honey.
Essential oils of tea tree, lemon, or ravensara are very helpful to rub on the neck. And a salt water gargle a few times a day may also help to speed recovery and fight bacteria in the oral cavity.

Lastly, be sure to get you or your child adjusted while sick. I can't tell you how many people feel they need to cancel their appointments when they're sick, but it's actually the opposite! Your body needs to be adjusted more when its sick than ever. Adjustments to the neck and mid back actually strengthen your immune system and allow your body's natural healing ability to fight harder.

While letting your body naturally heal, be on the lookout for symptoms of lethargy, dehydration, acting out of character, or unresponsiveness. These are serious symptoms that may indicate a visit to your medical doctor. Many of these suggestions are applicable to other infections, but be sure to discuss with your medical doctor or chiropractor first. Have a safe and healthy winter season!