Sore Throat: Is it Strep?

According to Mathew Clark, MD (Clinical Professor at Temple University School of Medicine) there is a huge problem of doctors over-prescribing antibiotics when patients present with a sore throat. He has major concerns about what he calls “collateral damage”. The good bacteria in our guts which make up 70% of our immune systems are destroyed by antibiotics and it can be difficult if not impossible to restore them to healthy levels. The other issue is that we are now in the era of super bugs, bacteria that used to be easily killed by antibiotics are now resistant and we can’t kill them. We are running out of effective antibiotics for many diseases today.

Dr. Clark goes on to say that 90% of adults and 80% of children with sore throats have a viral infection, not bacterial. Yet 70% are given antibiotics. Antibiotics don’t work on viruses and they cause “collateral damage” to your immune system.

Doctors often prescribe antibiotics because they feel pressured by their patients to “do something” for them. In years past there was a big concern that a sore throat could be Strep. It was thought to be important to find out if a sore throat was Strep because there were possible complications, like Rheumatic Fever, which could damage kidneys and heart. Dr. Clark says that the likelihood of developing complications is quite rare and that even Strep infections usually resolve in 3-5 days with no complications. The longer a sore throat goes on, the less likely it is to be strep.

Reliable diagnosis of viral vs. strep throat base on symptoms is impossible because the symptoms are so similar: sore throat, hoarseness, cough, runny nose, and swollen lymph nodes. The most reliable test is the Rapid Strep Test, not the culture. But Dr. Clark says that we do not need to routinely test for Strep and that since sore throats are usually viral, we should act accordingly and do nothing. That means no antibiotics. But there are many things you can do for yourself to feel better and get well quicker.

To boost your immune response: Get enough sleep, seriously, go to bed. You can’t stay healthy if you are sleep deprived. Avoid sugar, bugs love sugar. Make sure you get enough Vitamins D and C. Some foods that boost immune function are garlic, onions, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and ginger. Try the herb Echinacea. Zinc lozenges (I like the brand Cold EEZE, lemon/honey) can help soothe the throat and shorten the recovery time. Take hot baths with several cups of Apple Cider Vinegar in the water. Drink hot tea made of fresh ginger, fresh lemon, honey and cayenne pepper. We carry a product called “Throat Magic” that is great for sore throats and upper respiratory infections.

Last but not least, get adjusted. Your entire immune system is controlled by your nervous system. Subluxated (misaligned) vertebrae interfere with how well your immune system can launch an immune response to attack the bad guys and restore your health. Studies show that children and adults under chiropractic care have up to 200 % better immune response than those who do not get adjusted. My patients under regular care are amazed at the improvements in the overall health of their families. The first thing I do if I feel under the weather is to get adjusted. It really helps!

If you want to have a healthier immune system and haven’t had your spine checked, call us today for your complimentary consultation to see if you could be helped by chiropractic. (512)346-3536

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