Are Antibiotics Necessary for Sore Throats?

By January 9, 2019Naturopathic Medicine
Clear cup of tea beside sage leaves on table

We’ve all woken up with the razor sharp pain of a sore throat – scratchy, irritated and raw.  For many, the answer is a quick trip to the doctor with a firm request for antibiotics.  But is this always necessary?

The truth of the matter is that not all sore throats indicate an infection.  More often than not, the symptoms are caused by a virus which would not be helped with antibiotics anyway.  It can be beneficial to look at associated symptoms in order to explore the cause.  If, for example, your sore throat is accompanied with a runny nose, cough, body aches or even a low grade fever, that is usually indicative of a viral illness that simply has to run its course.

In fact, there is a great deal of information that demonstrates that the use of antibiotics to treat bacterial infections such as strep throat is not as effective as was once thought.  In most cases a course of medication will work in almost the same amount of time as the body’s own natural healing process.  To this end, many doctors are now recommending a wait and see approach to sore throats instead of simply pulling out the prescription pad.  Overuse of antibiotics can be unhealthy in and of itself, so it’s always best to avoid using any unnecessary medication.

So How Do You Ride It Out?

There are lots of ways to soothe a sore throat and the viral symptoms that often accompany it.

Plenty of fluids:

It sounds simple, but it’s true.  Getting lots of fluids helps to keep you hydrated which is important when you are under the weather, but can also help to alleviate scratchy throat symptoms as well.

  • Warm broth based soups
  • Hot lemon and honey water
  • Decaffeinated/Herbal Teas

Get Lots of Rest:

Taking the time to rest your body allows you to recover more quickly.  Trying to push through your symptoms may just make things worse – so give yourself permission to curl up with a cozy blanket and take the down time you need to get better.

Gargle with Salt Water:

Your grandmother was right.  Gargling with salt water really does go a long way to getting rid of bacteria in the back of your throat.  Try this remedy at least once a day for as long as symptoms persist.

Get a Humidifier:

Humidifiers are an easy way to add moisture to the room which can help to relieve the swollen membranes in your throat and nasal passages.

Of course, if your home remedies don’t seem to be doing the trick, or you find you are getting sick repeatedly, give us a call for a consultation to discuss what naturopathic options might help you get healthy and stay healthy.

 

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