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Home > Research Department  > Health Concerns Articles > Throat Infection
    Health Concerns Articles  
THROAT INFECTION
Articles by a Naturopathic Doctor ( N.D.)

THROAT INFECTION

Gargling with salt water will help to decrease symptoms of a sore throat.
As fall (so very quickly) approaches, so must we also prepare ourselves for cold and flu season. Some individuals have a predisposition to infection in either the chest, ears or sinuses, while others often find it goes straight to the throat....
If you have ever suffered from any kind of throat infection, you know how painful they can be. While a cold will often cause a sore throat for a day or two and then move on to symptoms such as runny nose and cough, strep throat will persist, often causing severe pain and usually requiring antibiotics. 

Tonsillitis can be caused by the same bacteria that causes strep throat; Streptococcus, or by other bacterial or viral infections. Tonsillitis results in the tonsils at the back of the throat to becoming enlarged and painful. Although strep throat and tonsillitis can happen simultaneously (with the streptococcus bacterium), you can also have one without the other.

Strep Throat
Symptoms of strep throat include sudden onset, fever, loss of appetite (due to painful swallowing), red tonsils with white spots (not necessary enlarged, but often very red or even purple). Strep throat is most common in children ages 5-13, although it does occur in adults. Strep throat is contagious and can be spread via close contact with an infected person.

Contact your healthcare provider if you fear you or your child may have strep throat. It does warrant medical attention, as there can be serious side effects, including rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever can damage the heart valves and have potentially serious repercussions. Treatment of strep throat often includes antibiotics, such as penicillin or amoxicillin. It is not advised to give persons under the age of 18 Aspirin to ease pain or calm a fever for fear of Reye's syndrome, a disorder that can cause brain damage and even death, in some cases.

What you can do if you have A THROAT INFECTION:

- DRINK PLENTY OF LIQUIDS!
- AVOID SUGAR
- STICK TO PURE FRUIT JUICE TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
- STAY AWAY FROM DAIRY AS IT'S MUCOUS FORMING
- MAKE SURE YOU GET PLENTY OF SLEEP TO RESTORE YOUR BODY
- TRY SOME OF THE SUPPLEMENTS LISTED BELOW SUCH AS ELDERBERRY OR GOLDENSEAL

DID YOU KNOW?
(THROAT INFECTION FACTS)

- TONSILLITIS CAN BE CAUSED BY THE SAME BACTERIA THAT CAUSES STREP THROAT.
- STREP THROAT IS MOST COMMON IN CHILDREN AGES 5-13.
- TONSILLECTOMY AND ADENOIDECTOMY ARE MUCH LESS COMMON.
Tonsillitis
What is most commonly referred to as 'the tonsils' are actually one set of tonsils called the palantine tonsils, which sit at the back of the throat. Oddly enough, the tonsils are a lymphatic tissue and meant to fight infection, being one of our first lines of defence against ingested or inhaled foreign pathogens. Unfortunately, this does not mean that they cannot become infected themselves.

In the past, a tonsillectomy (a procedure which involved the removal of the tonsils) was a fairly routine procedure for anyone who was prone to tonsillitis or an inflammation of the tonsils, often not responding to traditional medications.

Nowadays tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy are much less common, but still performed in severe or stubborn and chronic cases, where there is a lot of pain associated with infection, or in cases of severe sleep apnea due to enlarged tonsils or adenoids. If the infection is bacterial, tonsillitis can be treated with antibiotics. In many cases the infection is viral and self limited. Anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, are all that are often recommended in these cases.

Symptoms of tonsillitis include: white or yellow spots on the swollen tonsils, bad breath, voice changes due to swelling, fever, painful swallowing and swollen lymph nodes in the neck.

What can you do?
In general, whether sore throat is due to cold, strep throat or tonsillitis, there are some very simple lifestyle tips that can help to speed up the course of the infection and get you feeling healthier, faster!

As much as it may hurt to swallow, make sure to drink plenty of liquids. Keep in mind that refined sugar depresses the immune system, so try to stick to water and pure fruit juices. Foods such as soups, broths and smoothies can help to provide the nutrition you need, while still soothing the throat. Try to stay away from dairy as much as you can. Dairy is mucous forming and may only exacerbate the issue. Gargle with salt water multiple times throughout the day, it will help to dry things out and decrease pain and inflammation. Get plenty of rest. Chances are that your immune system was run down by the time the symptoms developed, perhaps from fighting the infection off as long as it could. Give your immune system a chance to recuperate and fight back. Make sure to sleep as much as you can while you are recovering. It will boost energy and help to decrease the course of the infection.

Supplements
There are also a variety of supplements you can take for an acute or chronic infection, each tailored toward either a viral or bacterial infection, although some of these suggestion have both anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Elderberry, goldenseal, astragalus, andrographis and garlic are all great choices for anti-viral/anti-bacterial herbal remedies that have been proven to shorten the course of the infection and get you feeling better faster. An herbal throat spray, containing zinc or any combination of the herbs mentioned above, can also help to alleviate sore throat quickly to help ease the pain associated with swallowing. If antibiotics are prescribed, remember to take a probiotic either during or following antibiotic treatment. This ensures that you are protecting and replenishing the 'healthy' gut flora, which in turn means you are helping to support the immune system, along with healthy and happy digestion.   

The following list of supplements can be used for THROAT INFECTIONS.  Adult doses are given.  (CLICK SUPPLEMENT NAME FOR PRODUCTS).

SUPPLEMENT DOSAGE THERAPEUTIC EFFECT
HERBAL THROAT SPRAY As directed For instant relief from sore throat. To decrease discomfort when swallowing.. 
ZINC LOZENGES As directed For symptom relief.
ELDERBERRY EXTRACT 1000-1500 mg/day. Standardized to 30% anthocyanins Anti-viral, Anti-bacterial. Shown to significantly shorten the course of the infection.
GOLDENSEAL 500-1000 mg/day King of the mucous membranes. Anti-viral, Anti-bacterial, Anti- microbial.
ASTRAGALUS 750-1500 mg/day. Tincture: 6-18 ml/day Anti-viral and general immune support.
ANDROGRAPHIS 1000-1500 mg/day Immuno-modulating. Excellent for added support during changes of season.
VITAMIN C To bowel tolerance. 1-3 g every 1-3 hours for 3-7 days Immune support.
VITAMIN D 1000-5000 IU/day Anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties; helps to support immune system.
AGED GARLIC EXTRACT 600-1800 mg/day Effective for fighting infection and as an overall immune support.
PROBIOTICS As directed Immune regulatory, replenishes beneficial gut bacteria that can be depleted with Antibiotic use.
For informational purposes only.  Please consult your health care practitioner before taking natural health care products. Click here for full disclaimer.


All articles copyright National Nutrition 2001 - 2014.  For educational purposes only.  Please note that while National Nutrition supports your right to use natural health care products for any therapeutic purpose that you see fit, that the information on this website should not be considered as a claim or as a substitute for medical advice.

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