Life · Personal Blogs

Nature v. Medicine: The Battle to Treat Strep Throat

Mid-November 2012. My husband was deployed at the time and I was tasked with keeping four rambunctious children healthy and alive. They were six, four, 23 months, and 11 months, all completely individual spirits with completely different needs. By this time, my husband had been gone for 11 months, and I had lost control of my jar of marbles, complete control. I was down to four marbles, five tops.

The Illness.

Group A Streptococcus bacteria made a comfortable home right along my throat and tonsils. As you can imagine, the symptoms included fever, headache, fatigue, and of course, sore throat with difficulty talking and swallowing. For those of you who have been blessed not to share your throat and tonsils with Streptococcus bacteria, it feels as though your throat and tonsils were scraped vigorously with sand paper resulting in intense pain with the slightest movement and intense burning with eating and drinking.

This, as you can imagine, is not conducive to trying to survive a deployment. At this age, kids typically lack sympathy and concern, only caring about their every-changing needs and wants. As I tried to muster the strength to care for them and myself too, I soon realized that in order to care for them and keep them healthy, I would have to take the dreaded trip to the doctor’s.

Doctor’s Orders.

At this time, scheduling an appointment is not an option. Trying to secure an appointment on a military installation typically takes weeks. I didn’t have the time. A referral to urgent care is dependent upon the appointment line operator, and more often than not, you were told to go the emergency room. “With 2 kids?”, but it had to be done.

After sending my oldest to school and dropping off the four year old at daycare, I and the two youngest made our way to the emergency room. Equipped with sippy cups and bottles, Cheerios and toys, we waited, and waited, and waited. We watched cartoons, I flipped though children’s books with them, and I constantly pulled them down from everything they needed to climb. Many dissatisfied stares and a few hours later, we survived the dreaded emergency room and we went home with a strep throat diagnosis, antibiotics, and ibuprofen.

I began taking the medication immediately, just as prescribed. Forgive my memory, but I’m sure I was to take the antibiotics three times a day for a week or so and the ibuprofen as needed. And I did. Within 10 days, I was fine, we were fine.


My efforts and the doctor’s orders were futile. By the beginning of December, Streptococcus bacteria had returned to my throat and tonsils. I began feeling the very same symptoms taking place and I just knew I didn’t have the time or patience to try another round of antibiotics. Not because I don’t believe in the competency of doctors or modern medicine, but more so because my husband was returning home soon. What wife wants to have strep throat when the husband returns from a 12 month deployment? Not I.

So I did the very thing that drives health professionals, such as myself, completely insane. I took to Google. I searched “home remedies for strep throat” and stumbled upon a recipe for a tea. Below are the ingredients and properties of each ingredients that are beneficial:

  • Fresh Crushed Garlic has a variety of antimicrobial activities (antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antiviral).
  • Fresh Lemon Juice acts as a natural antiseptic which helps to kill bacteria and viruses while soothing pain and inflammation.
  • Honey also has antibacterial and antifungal properties while soothing sore throats.

As you can imagine, I boiled one serving of this “tea” at a time and sipped it slowly, allowing the garlic, lemon juice, and honey to work on my throat and tonsils. The tingling effect was instant, amazing, and soothing, and in 2-3 days, I was able to rid my throat and tonsils of the unwanted Streptococcus bacteria.


Yes, the garlic did seep from my pores, enough to take on Dracula. The house reeked of garlic. My breast milk smelled of garlic. The furniture smelled of garlic. Was my husband returned from deployment six days later, the house and I still smelled of garlic, but it was well worth it.

Moral of the Story.

There is no real moral to this story. However, I’ve learned to think independently. Can I treat this myself? Is this product absolutely necessary? Is there a more natural remedy? These are the questions I ask myself for simple illnesses and ailments. That’s not to say that I totally avoid the emergency room and appointment line for everything. High fevers, inexplicable rashes, major bumps to the head, or a combination of symptoms are all reasons to make an appointment. I guess the real moral of the story is to trust your judgment and your instincts. You got it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s