If your family has been dealing with repeated bouts of strep throat, there is good news. You can put an end to the struggle and prevent catching strep throat naturally with a few simple at home remedies.
This past year has been a challenge for my family. It all started with one innocent visit to the doctor when my older son had a slight temperature. After a quick examination and a simple test we were told he had contracted contagious strep throat. In my mind, that seemed like no big deal. A few days of antibiotics and he’d be back to normal, right? Instead, this one case of strep throat quickly led to every other member of the family catching strep and was the start of what I refer to as our ‘Year of Strep.’ For eleven long and VERY frustrating months, at practically any given time someone in the house had strep throat. I thought I would lose my mind. Short of pulling both boys out of daycare and placing them into a sterilized bubble, I didn’t know what else I could do. But after countless nights of research, I discovered a few effective natural remedies that prevent strep throat. I was willing to try anything to get the never ending strep cycle to stop and so I gave them a try. And shockingly- they worked!
If you have even dealt with repeated strep throat infections, there is a scientific reason why you tend to catch it over and over again. For one reason, it’s highly contagious- so if you fail to clean even one tiny surface (or don’t replace your toothbrush at the right time) you can become reinfected. But there’s another reason as well. The same antibiotics that fight off the strep bacteria also kill off beneficial bacteria in the throat that is protective. When your levels of this good bacteria decline, you are more at risk for contracting strep again and again- frustrating right?
Strep infections can be very serious and can lead to dangerous complications if they aren’t treated. I would always recommend taking your antibiotics as prescribed if you catch strep throat. But to prevent repeated bout of strep, there are four effective natural remedies that can fight strep throat infection that I highly recommend.
5 Natural Remedies that Prevent Strep Throat
I literally tried everything I could think of to prevent strep throat for myself as well as my boys. Some strategies failed miserably, but a few were very effective. Here are my top natural remedies for preventing strep throat that I recommend to anyone struggling with repeated bouts of strep.
This honey comes from New Zealand and is made by the bees who pollinate the Manuka bush. This form of honey contains both antibacterial and antibiotic properties, making it effective at preventing infections. In clinical settings, this form of honey is even used at times on burn wounds to promote healing. When purchasing this honey, you want to see that it contains a UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) of 10 or higher to make sure it will contain therapeutic properties. For my family, we used a Manuka honey with a UMF of 15. We use Comvita Certified UMF 15+ Manuka Honey
Since the honey is so thick, it can be an excellent way to coat the throat and fight against infection. I consumed one teaspoon a day off the spoon to let it coat my throat and tonsils. For my boys, we added into smoothies and homemade popsicles so they could get the benefits without the struggle to get them to actually try it off a spoon (just an FYI- the taste is not the same as the honey you are used to buying at the store). Keep in mind, honey should not be given to babies less than one year old.
Probiotics are essential for gut health at any time, but when you are taking antibiotics it is even more critical to take a good quality probiotic each day. When it comes to probiotics, different strains of bacterial do different things. To prevent strep throat, there is one particular bacteria strain that may be most effective. S. salivarius K12 is the bacteria strain that has been found in research to be protective against strep throat infections. There is also some research suggesting this strain of good bacteria may be protective against ear infections and beneficial to the health of gums and teeth. I added in a high quality probiotic that contained S. salivarius K12 to our daily routine and increased the dosage to taking one with each meal during times when I knew we had an increased risk of strep exposure. Note: before taking a probiotic, make sure to discuss if it is right for you with your healthcare provider. This is the brand I have been using with my family.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar offers a host of health benefits from potentially aiding weight loss to lowering blood sugar levels. But it also may offer protection against contagious strep infections as well. By gargling with diluted apple cider vinegar, you can coat the throat and tonsils with this acid which may offer anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. The acidic environment can also prevent the growth of bacteria as well. Just make sure if you do gargle with vinegar that it is diluted properly. Add one tablespoon into 8 ounces of warm water. Never gargle (or drink) vinegar straight since it can corrode and damage teeth enamel as well as the esophageal tissue. Since my boys are too young to gargle, I would occasionally mix a teaspoon of vinegar into their smoothies so they could get some of the benefit as well. Just a note when choosing apple cider vinegar: make sure to choose a brand that contains the ‘mother’ which is a colony of beneficial bacteria that help to give this vinegar it’s beneficial properties like this brand.
Gargling with warm salt water is also recommended since the salt can help to draw bacteria out of the tonsils and creates a harsh environment that prevents bacterial from growing. I gargled with each daily (separately) to help get the benefits for both.
I had heard of essential oils used for everything from promoting better sleep to fighting against the flu, so I figured they may also be helpful in preventing strep. Although I could not find research on using infused oil and a reduction in strep infection directly, there are some studies indicating essential oils such as cinnamon oil may be effective at preventing growth of strep bacteria and even killing the bacteria in the lab. So I figured it couldn’t hurt to try. I started infusing our house daily with Thieves oil, which is a mix of essential oils including cinnamon. This blend has been promoted as reducing the risk of many illnesses, such as flu, so even if it didn’t directly impact strep, I figured it may at least help us to fight off other illnesses when our resistance was down.
So this was a new one for me. I came across a few blogs online where individuals who were dealing with recurrent strep swore that taking cell salts finally helped them to stop getting strep infections. So I did some research and decided to give them a try myself. What are cell salts? Created by a German physician, they are essentially a mix of minerals and electrolytes that are thought to stimulate the body’s own healing mechanisms by correcting mineral imbalances and deficiencies. There are twelve different cell salts, each touted to help with different issues such as muscle cramps, nausea, or colds. You can take cell salts individually or purchase a blend that combines all twelve cell salts. I opted for the blended variety since I wanted to cover all of my bases. Since this is a supplement containing minerals such as calcium, iron, and phosphorous, I would recommend speaking to your healthcare provider first to make sure it is appropriate for you taking these. I also did not provide these to my children, nor do I recommend these for children unless cleared first by a pediatrician.
There are many natural remedies for preventing strep throat, but I wanted to summarize the ones I found to be most valid and seemed to have the greatest impact for myself and my family. I don’t want to jinx myself, but I am now strep-free for eight months and counting so I do believe these natural remedies made a big impact.
Keep in mind, untreated strep throat can have potentially serious complications. These natural remedies are to help prevent strep infection. If you contract strep throat (or suspect it) it’s time to see your doctor and be treated.
To-Do List to Prevent Strep Throat
If you have been diagnosed with strep throat, here are a few simple steps to take to prevent repeated strep throat infections.
Change your toothbrush
The first time my son was diagnosed with strep throat and the pediatrician told me to replace his toothbrush I thought that seemed a little overkill, but nope – this is VERY necessary! The strep virus can live on surfaces for a long time and reinfect you if you aren’t careful. But here’s the thing, you don’t want to change out the toothbrush too soon or too late. Generally after 24 hours on antibiotics, you shouldn’t be contagious anymore. So 24-48 hours after you start your medication, throw away your old toothbrush and replace it. If you wait until the end of your 10 day cycle of antibiotics, you may have waited too long and can reinfect yourself. So pick up a new one when you are at the pharmacy getting your prescription filled.
Wash and disinfect all surfaces that may have been in contact with the strep virus
The strep virus can be highly contagious and you can spread it from surfaces you may not even think of. Wash all bedding, towels, pillowcases and anything else that may have come in contact with the virus. For us, I started washing and disinfecting car seats, strollers, and toys as well.
Consider a UV Light to Disinfect Hard Surfaces
So at a certain point, I started to lose my mind with all of these strep infections. I tried everything and the kids still kept spreading it over and over. Having a drooling baby with strep who puts everything in his mouth made it seem impossible to stop the spread. No matter how much I cleaned or sprayed disinfection, certain things just seemed impossible to sanitize. So I purchased a portable sanitizing UV light to disinfect items that were hard to clean, like school lunch bags, toys, and even our floors. I’m not sure if this was entirely necessary, but it has been a great way to clean and disinfect without using chemicals so I am keeping it.
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