Healing Strep Throat & Taking My Emotional Temperature

Last Thursday morning I tested positive for Strep Throat.  I rolled out of bed and into the Internal Medicine Doctor’s office where I usually work as their nutritionist.

I said, “I’m sure this isn’t strep, but would you humor me and swab my throat anyway?”

Three minutes later, we had the results.

The test was positive.

“Are you sure?”  I said, “because I have never had strep throat, this was just a guess on my part, I don’t have to be right about this.”  But there was no arguing the growing streptococcus bacteria sample that just came out of the back of my throat.


Two hours later I started the loading dose of Z-Pak antibiotics.  I’m not thrilled about taking antibiotics, however, I’m thankful for antibiotics when a true bacteria infection is present, they work wonders!

Within a couple hours of taking the first round of antibiotics my throat began to feel better.  But the swollen lymph glands in my neck, fatigue, body aches, drainage from my sinuses, ears and throat didn’t subside as quickly.  My immune system was at battle and I felt horrible.

Along with the antibiotics I began some other remedies.  First and foremost I began taking probiotics which I’ll continue daily for at least a month.  The other remedies listed below can also be used to strengthen and expedite the fight against viral or bacteria infections that you or your family might encounter this winter.

1.  Neti-Pot – Oh how I love the Neti-Pot!  I’ve been using it two times a day since I got sick.  It takes some getting used to, as you have to breathe through your mouth and not choke on the salt water while you pour water into one nostril and let it drain out the other nostril. It’s used for removing dirt, pollen, excess mucus, and other irritants (see strep bacteria!).  It’s soothing and moistening to dried out nasal passages. 

  • Mix 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized salt in warm water.
  • Put the salt water mixture into the Neti Pot.
  • Insert the spout into your nostril.
  • Tilt you head over the sink. The salt water will run up your nostril and drain out the other nostril.
  • When all the water has flushed through, blow out remaining water and mucus.
  • Repeat process in the other nostril.

2.  Wet-Sock Therapy I realize this recommendation is a bit “odd”, however it is one that I use and it is a standard remedy that naturopathic doctors use to increase immune function.  This treatment acts to reflexively increase the circulation and decrease congestion in the upper respiratory passages, head, and throat. It has a sedating action and many patients report that they sleep much better during the treatment. This treatment is also effective for pain relief and increases the healing response during acute infections.  By changing the temperature of your feet it causes your body to do the same thing as it would for any threat – initiate the fever response (one of our best defenses) and also raise your circulating levels of white blood cells.

  • Soak cotton socks completely with cold water. Be sure to wring the socks out thoroughly so they do not drip and are just damp to the touch.
  • Place wet socks on previously warmed feet (i.e. after you get out of a warm bath) and cover with thick wool socks. Go directly to bed. Avoid getting chilled.
  • Keep socks on overnight. You will find that the wet cotton socks will be completely dry by morning and your chest and head congestion will be significantly reduced.

3.  Hot Epsom Salt Baths – I’m a fan of Epsom Salt baths in general, but when I’m sick they have extra benefit. The Epsom Salt pulls impurities out of the body and relaxes the muscles.

4.  Sleep–  Just one night of poor sleep can dramatically decrease the immune system’s activity the next day. Long, deep, restful sleep can do wonders in keeping your immune system strong.  I powered down my computer and iPhone and pretty much escaped to my bed for 48 hours this weekend.

5.  Quick Defense This is my all time favorite immune boosting product.  It’s made by Gaia Herbs and you can find it in almost any health food store.  It packs a powerful punch of a strong Echinacea and Elderberry blend.  Take two capsules every couple hours for two days until the product is gone.  I swear by this product.  Start it at the first sign of sickness and it will either stop it in its tracks or cut the duration significantly.

6. Hydrogen Peroxide Ear Drops This is more for a cold virus but I did it anyway.  At the first sign of a sore throat place 5 drops of 3% hydrogen peroxide in your ear for 10 minutes. Hydrogen peroxide placed in the ear goes directly to the cold source and kills germs before they get a chance to infect the rest of the body.

7.  Fluids Lots and lots of WATER helps to flush the toxins out of the lymph.  Warm water with fresh squeezed lemon juice tasted really good to me this weekend.  Any herbal teas (Throat Coat, Immune Builder, Elderberry, etc) are great too.  Try NOT to drink juice because of the high sugar content, if you do drink juice dilute it with copious amounts of water.

8.  Skin Brushing Stimulates the lymph system.  The lymph system’s main function is to protect against invading disease and micro-organisms.  The draw back is it doesn’t have its own pump, and so, the movement of the lymph is dependent on good breathing and circulation. This is where skin brushing comes in. Brushing the body with a brush of natural fibers, from the extremities (the legs and arms) towards the heart, boosts what may be an otherwise sluggish flow of lymph.  This is a good daily practice but if you do it when you are sick it helps the lymph quickly move disease and toxins out of the body!

9.  Mind/Body Connection It didn’t go unnoticed to me that I got sick days before an emotional week for me.  When we “don’t have time to get sick” and if we get sick with something that we’ve never been sick with before, ask yourself this:

A.  Is this physically related  i.e was I just unlucky and contracted strep bacteria for the first time in my life?


B.  Is this emotionally related i.e. was I emotionally taxed and my immune system became suppressed?

I’m going with option B.

I realize an infection can just be an infection, and there doesn’t have to be a deeper meaning.  But I also believe there can be connections between the mind, body, emotions and illness.  In fact Louise Hay’s infamous work and book focuses on this very idea.  Deb Shapiro has written about this theory in Your Body Speaks Your Mind and Karol Truman did the same in, Feeling Buried Alive Never Die. I looked up sore throat and its emotional connection:

  • The inability to speak up for one’s self – Um doesn’t totally resonate.
  • Swallowed anger – Hmm, probably.
  • Stifled creativity – Yes!!!
  • Refusal to change– Ding, ding, ding this hits the nail on the head, and sums up exactly what the week of December 13th symbolized to me.

Ironically the exact moment I was standing in line at the pharmacy for my antibiotics I received an email on my iPhone.  The situation (which I let suppress my immune system in the first place) had just been postponed until January.  Interesting.  I hadn’t told anyone I was sick, but things had been delayed anyway.  So the email and strep throat both gave what I wasn’t willing to give myself — Time!

Messages and gifts come in all forms, last week my message was delivered in the form of an illness and electronic mail; apparently the *time* has come for me to make some changes, refusals and all…

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  1. Hi, I just found your blog from Twitter and I loved the post! I especially like the wet sock therapy and I am going to try it next time I am feeling sick. I had a baby 8 months ago and have been getting sick ALOT! I mean antibiotic sick. Anyway great info!
    Stop by my blog sometime


  2. I love the balance between physical and emotional “cures” in this post. I have followed Louise Hay for years and have many cecomstances present themselves that hit the emotional cause nail right on the head!
    I had a very serious talk with my daughter yesterday about some things that greatly effect both of us yet we can not change or really express our anger in the direction it should go; about an hour later… Strep! I think going through the 4 possible emotional issues and your response to each is brilliant! I will find a way to release this “swollowed anger” in a way that heals my heart & my body.
    Thank you for sharing – and eventhough I hate cold I think I will put on some cold damp socks tonight 🙂

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