Hi readers, always a pleasure to see some new faces on the site as well as the regular culprits back again for some Essential Oil magic. Today, we’ll be looking at one of the most common throat related conditions in all parts of the world.
Now, it’s a well-known fact that kids often come down with sore, scratchy throats, wet, runny noses and all sorts of flu-like symptoms all the time right? Oh who am I kidding, let’s not pin this one on the kids. While they are highly susceptible to most respiratory issues, I’ll just be flat out honest with why I decided to write this article.
I’ve been battling with a cold and strep throat for a couple of days and I gotta say – it wasn’t pretty. I swear to God; nothing used to disgust me more than someone loudly clearing their heavily clogged throat and then spitting up a loogey.
Well, I recently coughed up a massive, solid, yellow, firm, round, and bouncy loogey out in public and you know what, I’m not even ashamed to say it felt great. Try being all clogged up and congested with phlegm for days and tell me if it doesn’t feel like a breath of fresh air. What, I told you it wasn’t pretty.
But all possibly repugnant confessions aside, my condition led me into writing this post to help others find relief because honestly, I don’t wish anyone going through a ‘public incident’ like I did.
In this segment, I’ll be sharing with you everything I discovered about strep throat. That includes what it is, how it presents itself in the body and what could have possibly caused it. In my case, I’ll just go ahead and assume that things got a bit too cozy this Christmas and Boxing day.
We’ll also look at how you can prevent the condition form becoming a problem and how to treat it in case it gets the best of you. So stick around and grab a towel-sized handkerchief; because you just landed smack dab in Olivia’s ultimate guide to everything you need to know about strep throat.
What Is Strep Throat?
Here to answer this question is our resident nerd; nerd, go ahead.
Also known as Streptococcal pharyngitis, strep throat is a highly contagious disease that causes swelling and inflammation of the mucus membranes that line the tonsils and back of the throat. Some of the symptoms associated with the condition include sore throat, fever, red tonsils, enlarged lymph nodes, as well as a sandpaper-like rash at the back of the throat known as scarlet fever. It is one of the common causes of sore throat in teens and school aged kids. However, Olivia’s clearly shows that even adults aren’t immune to the strep. (Watch it nerd, you’re treading on thin ice here). To make sure it’s strep throat and not an ordinary sore throat, let’s check out the symptoms.
Signs And Symptoms Of Strep Throat
Well, I learned the hard way that signs of a strep throat are not all that unique. Like many other viral infections, they all have identical signs and symptoms that can be a real headache to pin down. Similarly, the symptoms can also vary from person to person depending on the severity.
While some will experience mild and dismissible symptoms like a minor sore throat, others will have severe symptoms like fever and difficulty swallowing. As always, I’ve compiled a list of symptoms to show you what to look out for.
- Sore throat
- Fever greater than 100 Fahrenheit
- Red, swollen tonsils
- Hoarseness and difficulty swallowing
- Red eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Runny nose
- Phlegm and mucus
- White patches around the throat
- Tiny spots at the roof of mouth
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle pain
The symptoms typically begin a couple days after exposure and last anywhere between seven to ten days before disappearing.
Causes And Risk Factors For Strep Throat
Strep throat is caused by group A Streptococcus (GAS). However, other bacteria such as fusobacterium have also been known to cause pharyngitis. It is highly contagious and lives in the hosts nose and throat.
Strep throat spreads after an infected person sneezes or coughs and also through direct contact. This includes touching your mouth after touching something with the bacteria, drinking or eating from the same container as a sick person. Although strep throat can occur at anytime, it tends to circulate primarily through late fall all the way to early spring.
Treatments And Remedies For Strep Throat
Like most common respiratory issues, strep throat usually resolves itself within a few days. However, there are always several steps you could take to not only shorten the duration of the illness, but also reduce the severity of the symptoms. The main reason why people prefer to treat strep throat is to reduce the risk of developing complications such as retropharyngeal abscesses. Let’s start with a look at what western medicine has to offer, shall we?
Research shows that treatment with antibiotics plays a big role in shortening the duration of the acute illness by about 16 hours. In the US, the antibiotic of choice when it comes to Streptococcal pharyngitis is penicillin V due to its safety, cost and effectiveness. However, European countries prefer Amoxicillin while India’s first choice is usually banzathine penicillin. As explained above, antibiotics are primarily prescribed to reduce any risk of complications, reduce the length of duration of illness and also reduce risk of contagiousness. However, patients are advised to be ready to face a wide range of side effects.
2. Pain Medication
When it comes to managing the pain associated with strep throat, doctors recommend several pain killers. Taking paracetamol, aspirin, or non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs should help combat headaches, muscle pains, and other assorted aches and pains. But like all pharmaceuticals, a few side effects are to be expected. Also, pain killers like aspirin are not recommended for kids since they come with the risk of developing Reyes syndrome.
3. Essential Oils
Now that you know the ugly and obvious truth about some of these throat medications, you’re no doubt wondering where to turn for help. I mean, will your strep throat cure itself within 10 days max? Sure. But are you comfortable walking around with something called Streptococcal pharyngitis in your throat for all that time? Didn’t think so.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit; most of the symptoms that come with strep throat can be brutal, debilitating, and outright embarrassing (remember the yellow ball of phlegm?). That’s why it’s only natural that people rush for OTC medications, pharmaceuticals and throat lozenges to ease the old croaker.
But if we’re being honest, over the counter decongestants, antibiotics, and pan medications just aren’t for everyone. Apart from being ill-advised for people with high blood pressure, pregnancies, and other health issues, some of these drugs can have adverse and damaging side effects that include headaches, drowsiness, restlessness, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, fever, and others. Frankly, I don’t think it’s worth risking your overall health for just a few moments of temporary relief. So, where does our journey to all natural treatment start?
With Essential Oils of course; Mother Nature’s own healing tonic. Also known as ethereal or volatile oils, essential oils have been helping people out for decades on decades now. These wonderful oils provide a concentrated essence of the original plant’s flavor, fragrance, and medicinal properties.
Essential oils are packed with benefits that not only help fight inflammation, viruses, and other common causes of Streptococcal pharyngitis, but also give the immune system a much-needed boost. Similarly, essential oils assist the body fight bacteria, infections, parasites, microorganisms and other harmful strep-related toxins all while detoxifying it. This reduces the body’s susceptibility to outside threats, irritants, and risk factors that could contribute to developing severe and lasting complications.
We always find hundreds if not thousands of these miracle oils for the job at hand. But for convenience’s sake, I’ve compiled some of the most effective EOs for combating strep throat and some age-old recipes to help you put them to good use.
6 Best Essential Oil Recipes For Strep Throat
Recipe 1: EO Ocean Gargle Mouthwash for Strep Throat
- 2 drops Clove EO
- 1 drop Geranium EO
- 1 drop Cedarwood EO
- Cup of warm water
- Half Teaspoon Sea Salt
To make use of this EO ocean gargle, start by combining the essential oils as indicated in a glass. Add your cup of warm water and stir in the salt as indicated above. Rinse and gargle the mixture in your mouth a few times a day and spit it out. Remember, don’t swallow the mixture – we’ll have a recipe for that later on. Repeat two to three times a day until the Streptococcal pharyngitis clears.
By using essential oils in a gargle, you put the oils in direct contact with your throat for immediate benefits. The reason why Clove essential oil is the star of the ball is because in addition to providing relief to a sore and battered throat after a few days of exposure to Streptococcal bacteria, it is incredibly useful in boosting the immune system. This is all thanks to its antiviral, antifungal, antimicrobial and stimulating properties. The cedarwood helps calm down the irritation while the salt acts as an antiseptic. Gargling this mixture a few times a day should steadily heal your strep throat.
Recipe 2: Oregano EO Vegetable Capsules for Strep Throat
- 2 drops food grade Oregano EO
- Olive oil
- Vegetable capsules, size 00
Before we proceed, there’s one crucial piece of information that I have to share. When it comes to ingesting essential oils, it’s of the utmost importance to make sure that you consult your doctor beforehand and also use 100% pure, organic, non-GMO, heavy metal and GRAS free essential oils. These are the best for internal use. For this recipe, I chose Oregano EO for its unrivaled antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties that make it ideal for treating strep throat.
To make use of this recipe, simply fill a vegetable capsule with 2 drops Oregano EO and top it off with a little olive oil. Take one to two capsules a day for a few days and your strep throat should clear much faster. While this recipe is ideal for adults, it’s recommended that you just make the little ones some oregano tea with a little honey to help hasten their recovery.
Recipe 3: Healing EO Throat Rub for Strep Throat
- 5 drops Oregano essential oil
- 3 drops Rosemary EO
- 3 drops Peppermint EO
- 2 drops Eucalyptus EO
- 2 Tablespoons of Jojoba oil
When it comes to strep throat, nothing works better to soothe the onset than a nice, essential oil massage rub. Now that you’ve got all your ingredients together, let’s get started. Proceed to mix your essential oils in a small glass bottle or non-reactive bowl in the order indicated above. Once you have everything mixed in, stir it a bit to combine the oils and quickly apply it on your palms.
Use the blend as a massage rub and massage all around the throat, base of the skull, and chest two times a day. If you’re an essential oil lover and an Olivia follower then it’s easy to see why these particular oils work great for a massage rub. Oregano is an incredibly notorious antiviral with some pretty potent antimicrobial properties – so you’ll need lots of it if you’re hoping to beat your cough. Similarly, eucalyptus is another essential oil that you can’t afford to skimp out on. Its unrivaled decongestant properties make it a valuable ally. Lastly, the Rosemary gives your massage blend a pleasant aroma while the peppermint offers a cooling and relaxing effect. This way, you can treat your sore throat from the outside.
Recipe 4: Strep Throat Fever and Muscle Pain Relief Body Rub
- 3 drops Lemongrass EO
- 3 drops Ginger EO
- 4 drops Lavender EO
- 2 Tablespoons Jojoba carrier oil
Just as before, start by combining the essential oils drop by drop in a glass or bowl. After that, proceed to add in your carrier oil of choice and mix thoroughly. Apply the blend to aching parts of your body such as the abdomen, back, throat, temples, head, joints, and muscles. This body rub will not only help with strep throat related fever and aches, but the essential oils we chose come with some hidden benefits.
For starters, the lemongrass oil is packed to the brim with antimicrobial, analgesic, antiseptic, bactericidal, diuretic, and fungicidal properties in addition to its sedative capabilities. This makes it quite the useful oil for relieving headaches, calming irritated airways, relaxing your nervous system, and treating other symptoms associated with coughs. This blend is further complemented by ginger and its powerful anti-inflammatory capabilities which allow it to heal your irritated airways. The lavender helps sooth, calm and relax your battered throat while allowing it to heal much faster form the outside in.
Recipe 5: EO Trident Diffuser Blend for Strep Throat
- 3 drops Eucalyptus EO
- 3 drops Lavender EO
- 3 drops Peppermint EO
- 2 drops Rosemary (optional ingredient)
You remember all those embarrassing symptoms of strep throat we were talking about earlier? Some cases of strep throat come with excessive mucus and phlegm that is too thick to come out. Combine that with a runny nose and you’ve got a pretty bad day ahead of you. In this case you’ll need some of the most powerful essential oils for the job. Start by simply adding in the essential oils drop by drop in your diffuser and enjoy the benefits all-day and all-night long.
Eucalyptus and peppermint have been in use since the beginning of history when it comes to lung and throat treatment. In itself, eucalyptus is an incredibly powerful decongestant with potent antiseptic and expectorant properties. What’s more, it absorbs immediately into the lungs for faster healing. We added peppermint and lavender essential oils due to the cooling and rejuvenating effect while the Rosemary gives your immune system a much-needed boost to overcome infection, bacteria, and other risk factors for coughs. Not to mention how it adds a pleasant and calming aroma in the air.
Recipe 6: Homemade EO Inhaler for Sore/Strep Throat
- 15 drops Eucalyptus EO
- 15 drops Marjoram EO
- 10 drops Peppermint EO
- 8 drops Juniper Berry EO
Like I always say, anyone with recurrent colds, sore throat and stubborn strep throat needs to learn how to make their own EO inhaler just in case there’s no diffuser at hand. When done right, this formula will not only help in reducing instances of strep throat, but also cut down on throat targeting infections and bacteria.
For this inhaler to work, you’ll need to boil about 4 cups of water in a small pot and add the essential oils. Next, cover tightly with a lid and wait for a few minutes before removing it. Quickly lean over the pot and cover your head with a towel to ensure none of the vapors are lost. Breathe in the inhalation blend every 10 to 30 seconds and remember to keep your eyes closed to protect them from the steam. You should be able to feel your airways opening up and any excess mucus and phlegm loosening after a few rounds with the steam. Eucalyptus acts as an incredibly powerful decongestant with some pretty potent antiseptic and expectorant properties that clear your airways right off. Combined with Marjoram and the menthol in peppermint, you should be able to clear any congestion and accelerate the recovery of your strep throat.
4 Home Remedies For Strep Throat
1. Raw Honey
Packed with potent antibacterial and antimicrobial activities, raw honey has been proven to hold a throng of medicinal properties. And when it comes to the respiratory system, there’s a reason why honey is the ultimate home remedy. It has the ability to create a protective barrier around the mouth and throat and prevent infection. Similarly, honey also helps boost the immune system thanks to its antioxidants properties, making it great for soothing the severity, pain and other symptoms associate with strep throat.
2. Bone Broth
Here’s another home remedy that has been used since the dawn of time for literally any and every ailment. Strep throat often comes with fever, loss of appetite and other related symptoms. Bone broth contains minerals that your body can easily absorb such as phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, among others. That’s why you need bone broth to keep you hydrated, nourished and kick start your immune system. What’s more, it’s easy to eat if you are suffering from swollen tonsils and have difficulty swallowing solid foods.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Another easy and natural way to treat strep throat is by sipping some apple cider vinegar. As we’ve seen time and time again, apple cider vinegar contains powerful healing compounds like acetic acid that not only kill harmful bacteria, but also help with growth of beneficial bacteria. Since the acid kills unwanted bacteria upon coming into contact, apple cider vinegar is practically a natural antibiotic.
4. Pink Himalayan Salt
While ordinary salt can also work, Himalayan salt has been shown to have antibacterial agents that improve respiratory conditions. Similarly, it contains anti-inflammatory properties that that allow it to reduce swelling associated with strep throat and sooth a sore, aching throat. Pink Himalayan salt achieves all this by temporarily increasing the pH in your mouth to create an alkaline environment that makes it harder for unwanted bacteria to survive. Gargling with the pink salt and warm water a few times a day should help treat your strep throat.
There you have it my fellow respiratory challenged readers; everything you need to know about strep throat right at your fingertips. With this information, you should be able to handle your Streptococcal pharyngitis like a boss.
But like I always say, some of these conditions take a while to cure and just need a few days to work themselves out of your system. So while you might want to get healthy as quick as possible, please don’t overwhelm your body with OTC medications and other pharmaceuticals. Just adopt the use of essential oils regularly in your life and all these respiratory issues will be a thing of the past.