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What do you do about a sore throat? Treating Sore Throat and Tonsillitis

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This is part of a wellness series on throat challenges and the throat chakra. To read the original question and better understand this segment, please click the preceding link. Our focus in this section is on treatment of sore throat and tonsillitis. How do you know when to see a doctor for a sore throat? When are antibiotics appropriate treatment? When is it more than a sore throat? These quesions and more, addressed here.

Sore Throat Remedies Explored:
If you have a sore throat that is caused by viral infection like colds or flu, typical selfcare treatments might involve OTC (over the counter) medicines like decongestants, antihistamines, Nyquil and sore throat lozenges.

All these options are more symptom relievers than actual remedies that impact the healing of a sore throat directly. For example, products like Nyquil can help a person heal just by helping them be able to get a good night's sleep. The body heals best when able to rest deeply at night. Used very occasionally, as a temporary measure of symptomatic relief, I don't find these remedies to be harmful to an otherwise healthy person. However, I consider repeated use of such OTC remedies, without addressing underlying immune system issues, to be a harmful choice.

If your sore throat is just the result of overwork and overstress, your body may bounce back without the need for a doctor visit or further treatment. If further care is needed, as it often is in cases of strep throat and tonsillitis, your doctor may want to rule out strep throat and infectious mononucleosis. Some tests they may use to determine the nature of the sore throat include taking a full blood count, taking a throat culture or doing a test called monospot of mononucleosis is suspected. When I was a child and was taken to the doctor, they seemed always to prescribe this pink antibiotic. Can't remember the name but I remember the taste.

Antibiotics for Sore Throat:
I read online now that antibiotics should NOT be prescribed for sore throat unless the strep test comes back positive. I don't remember every being swabbed or a strep test done as a child but there was always that antibiotic. While antibiotics, in some cases, may seem to quickly clear the infection, regular use can weaken the immune system and result in recurring infections.

Treating the immediate discomfort of a sore throat is important of course but the more pressing reason to treat strep throat, if found after strep culture, or tonsillitis quickly and effectively is that both conditions can lead to further infections elsewhere in the body. However, it is also important to know that antibiotics and OTC remedies are not the only options for treating these conditions.

What my Grandma did for sore throats:
Whenever we had sore throats as children, my Grandma had a favorite natural remedy. One of the first things Grandma would do was heat some water, add a bunch of table salt and have us gargle with it. One of the most simple clogged throat remedies I know about, the old salt water gargle definitely eased the pain and seemed to speed healing. I've also gargled with tea tree oil. It works great and it tastes nasty. If you want to try it, remember that a little tea tree oil goes a long way. I just put two or three drops in a glass of water.

One of my tried and true sore throat remedies is pure oregano oil. I just put about a quarter-sized dollup of olive oil in my palm and then add a drop or two of pure oregano oil, mix well and rub on my throat. It's important to always dilute the oregano oil because otherwise it burns. Remember to wash your hands too because it really stings if you get it in your eyes or on your nose, even in diluted form. I try to apply at first hint of a cold, flu, earache or sore throat. Great at night.

Natural Ways to address sore throats and tonsillitis: Many people are still not aware that there are effective natural alternatives for sore throat, cough, flu and earache. Here are a few from a company I respect, called Native Remedies: Natural colds and flu remedies

The goal of natural sore throat remedies is to safely reduce the symptoms, help the body clear infection, cut recovery time and strengthen the immune system to prevent recurring infection.


Natural Remedies Master List
Health Disclaimer: Tonsillitis can be caused by bacteria as well as viruses so it's important to find out which type you have. It's also important to remember that more serious conditions may be present with persistent or chronic sore throat. Please read section throat cancer.