The rest of the time, a virus is at work. According to Dr. Jeffrey Linder, antibiotics given for viruses won’t help and can likely cause harm. Side effects from antibiotics can include allergic reactions, yeast infections, rashes, diarrhea or dangerous interactions with other drugs.
Dr. Linder and his research team took a close look at data from 8,200 primary care and emergency room visits between 1997 and 2010. Doctors prescribed antibiotics for 60 percent of patient visits over the course of the study period. What the research did uncover was the fact that a greater proportion of prescriptions have been given for new and expensive antibiotics even though, according to Linder, penicillin works fine against strep.
Physicians Need to Check for Symptoms of Infection
Linder advises that physicians should always check for key signs of strep throat before giving an antibiotic. These signs include fever, white spots on tonsils, swollen lymph nodes and the absence of a cough. Unfortunately, the tests are used indiscriminately, according to Linder and many are given antibiotics without even being tested.
According to Dr. Ralph Gonzales, who has studied antibiotic prescription at the University of California, San Francisco, some good news did come out of the data analysis. Gonzales says that over the years there have been a decrease in the number of people actually going to the doctor seeking treatment for a sore throat.
In fact, during the study period, the numbers dropped from 8 percent to about 4 percent. This may be a sign that people are taking the rise of superbugs seriously and also an indication of a movement towards alternative therapies.
The Rise of Superbugs
So, what impacts are there for the over-prescription of antibiotics. One of the largest ones is the unnecessary rise of antibiotic resistant superbugs? The overuse of antibiotics is directly linked to the prevalence of superbugs. Clearly more effort should be made to use antibiotics only when entirely necessary.
If this means doctors taking a little more time to conduct appropriate tests for signs of infection and patients understanding that a pill is not always the answer, then so be it. Super bugs can be devastating.
The next time you feel a scratchy sore throat coming on try one of these home remedies before heading to the doctor. Chances are, your sore throat is viral and with a little rest, TLC and healthy foods, you will be back to your normal self again in no time.
Honey and Lemon
There is just something so very soothing about raw honey and lemon. Coating your throat with this warm drink will soothe irritation and promote healing. Mix 1 teaspoon of raw honey in a glass of warm water and add the juice of one lemon. Sip the drink slowly.
Apple Cider Vinegar Gargle
Add one tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar to warm water and gargle and spit it out. Then take another tablespoon and gargle but swallow this one. Repeat on the hour for prompt relief.
Author of the book Vermont Folk Medicine, D.C. Jarvis says that apple cider vinegar can even kill the bacteria that causes strep. Jarvis recommends gargling daily for 48 hours to beat strep.
Pineapples contain bromelain which can relieve the pain associated with a sore throat and reduce inflammation. Use only 100 percent organic crushed pineapple or pineapple juice.
Tips for Colds and Sore Throats
- Avoid dairy products
- Avoid processed foods
- Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
- Drink pure water
- Keep your hands clean
- Take a hot steamy shower
- Elevate your head when you sleep
- Practice deep breathing
- Use an eucalyptus spray in your shower