I recently went through strep. It was awful. I had a sore throat on Sunday afternoon and by that night I felt like I was on my deathbed. I was at urgent care the next morning the second it opened to be seen. I wasn't going to even mess around trying to get a doc appt later in the day. My tonsils were so swollen they were practically touching. The uc doc wanted me on steroids it was so bad. I popped those antibiotics like candy and felt measurably better that night. My DS was recovering from a GI illness and still wasn't himself. I took him to the doc and he tested positive for strep. You bet I gave him those abx right away. I didn't want him getting as sick as I was. It was unbearable. I was so concerned about getting the abx in him I mixed it with natural chocolate syrup - which if you know me would be shocking, I don't do sweets with my son. ever. - There were times when my DH and I had to (heartbreakingly) hold him down and pour it down his throat. It was horrible for all involved, but I wasn't going to mess around with it. We use natural treatments whenever possible. We do high dose C, we do D3, herbal remedies, etc. But strep is nasty business and I wouldn't let my DS suffer through what I had. Give probiotics between abx doses to help save the gut.
I gave her the abx last night. She's already feeling better. She started getting a rash on her face over a week ago and I thought she was having an allergic reaction, except that it was more pronounced than it had ever been before and was causing weeping eczema behind her ears. It was bright red on the sides of her face and neck and very hot to the touch. On Friday she woke up with a fever and had pain in her neck/lymph nodes. I took her to the doctor that morning and we both thought she was having an intense food reaction or supplement reaction (she had no throat pain whatsoever). She had started some new supplements the week before, including iodine which can have very strong effects. She didn't get really sick until Sunday. And she never once complained of a sore throat so I had no idea to even think of strep. Even yesterday and Sunday she didn't have a particularly sore throat. Her swollen neck hurt a lot, she had body aches and was obviously sick but not with the type of pain you would associate with strep. I was more thinking that she might have mumps
Thanks for all your responses. It was a very difficult decision for me to give her the meds. I believe in the body's ability to heal and grow stronger from illness. But yes, I could see that there was something different going on here and she needed help to knock this down. My criticism only applies to a few of the responses here which were a bit on the nasty side. You know, I'm not a sadist, of course I don't want to see my child suffer. My reasons for questioning standardized medical treatment are firmly grounded in logic and experience, believe me. Also, I've researched this endlessly for the past two days and I don't think I would choose to treat a lesser, more common strep infection with antibiotics right away. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that waiting a few days is not only safe, but gives the body a chance to develop some antibodies to strep bacteria which will help the child fight off infections more easily in the future. And untreated strep almost always resolves on its own in a matter of days without incident. In this situation I think I made a sound choice given the severity of her symptoms, but I can't say I would do the same in every circumstance.
If anyone is interested, which I guess is pretty unlikely, there are some interesting older threads (not from any of the pps here) about treating strep/scarlet fever naturally. People did used to suffer severe consequences from strep of course (and still do in many places), but MOST people who got it recovered just fine.
I'm glad she's feeling better.
Is she old enough (or feeling well enough) to gargle with warm salt water? That was one of my grandmother's go-to treatments for sore throats, and in my experience if you do it well and regularly, it really helps. If the infection is confined to a few spots on the throat, saltwater gargling can actually help fight the infection, and even if it's more deeply entrenched, it makes the throat feel better. But you need to make sure she doesn't drink any of it, because gulping saltwater isn't going to make her feel any better.
savithny, 42 year old moderate mom to DS Primo (age 12) and DD Secunda (age 9).
My dd had a very similar experience with scarlet fever. Her throat wasn't that sore, so we (actually she was staying at my mom's for a few days, but I was in constant contact with my mom regarding her fever/illness) didn't take her to the doctor right away. On the 4th day, my mom called me and said she had a rash, still had a fever, but otherwise wasn't feeling too bad. Needless to say, I went to get her immediately. When I saw her my heart nearly broke. She looked awful! Dark rings under her eyes, rash, strawberry tongue. I took her to the doctor immediately, and it was strep/scarlet fever. That was the first time she took antibiotics (she was 6). She got strep the next year and it was much, much worse. Very sore throat and glands so sore and swollen in her neck that I completely freaked out thinking she had meningitis! She had her second round of antibiotics that time. That was two years ago, and she hasn't had to take antibiotics since then. Our ped won't even prescribe them without a positive culture. That's for anything. Not just strep. That makes me trust that when she prescribes them, she takes it very seriously and it's the best course of action.
I'm glad your dd seems to be on the road to recovery. :)
I had strep throat 18-20 times as a child. Not once did it begin with a sore throat, it was usually other symptoms that clued my mom in - fever, lethargy, etc. So not feeling a sore throat (but feeling other icky symptoms) is I think totally possible.
Glad to hear your dd is doing better, and glad you took this situation seriously. You are 100% right - most strep infections will resolve themselves, usually without abx. The ones that progress to scarlet fever (whether immediately or after a protracted illness) are the ones that can get very bad very quickly, and need antibiotics.
I hope she continues to feel better!
I'm so glad she is feeling better. I just wanted to chime in as someone who has had pretty much all of the strep-family illnesses. I had strep all the time as a child. I had mono twice...yup, twice. I had Rheumatic Fever when I was 12, and then 10 years of a heart murmur and periodic flare-ups of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis as a result. The arthritis was occasionally bad enough for me to use a wheelchair to go to school. Fortunately no kidney damage, but I wasn't allowed to run or play roughly for 6 months until the swelling went down. I had Scarlet Fever in my mid-twenties.
I still have a small murmur...nothing to worry about, though. The arthritis cleared up when I was in college, but I understand I have an increased risk of age-related rheumatoid arthritis later in life. No other lingering side-effects.
I will always wonder if I had so many strep complications because of how often I was on abx as a child. I do wonder if maybe the strep I contracted was more virulent each time because of that. Then again, maybe it saved my life on more than one occasion. No way to know now.
I have to say that, in your position, I may have tried a day or two of alternative medications, as long as the doctor was working very closely with me and as long as both strep and rheumatoid levels were being checked frequently. I know the risks of strep, and I'd only go a day or two to see if I could get those numbers down. But I would not feel badly about ending up on abx, either. If ever there was a good time to use that very miraculous medical discovery, now is it, mama. Good move! I know how hard it is.
It's hard to know. I think some people are more susceptible to strep and other infections due to genetic makeup as well as the internal flora and biological terrain. The things you describe are exactly why I avoid antibiotics so fiercely. It only makes sense that when the body is allowed to progress through an illness and overcome infection naturally, it has the internal memory and will be able to mount a more effective response in the future. Its the same reason I don't vaccinate my kids or medicate their mild illnesses. The body usually knows what it is doing and it goes against my intuition to mess around with that too much. This is the first time I've had to intervene with conventional treatment and to be honest, I have reservations about it. I wish I had realized it was strep sooner because I would have been much more aggressive with natural treatments. I believe I could have supported her system well enough to fight it off without abx if I had started treating her at the first symptoms.
Of course, the other issue is gut health which can be severely compromised by antibiotics no matter how careful you are. Since 90% of our immunity comes from the gut, people who are exposed to antibiotics (or vaccines) have less natural resistance to illness. I'm upset about that for dd because its the last thing she needs. On the other hand, when this started I thought she was having a reaction to iodine which bummed me out equally because I'm just learning about its importance and I feel like its going to be a big thing for us health-wise. Not to mention the fact that I live on the west coast and am not very keen on having iodine-deficient kiddos at this moment in time...
The one time strep advanced to scarlet fever, that's exactly what happened with me. There are multiple strains of strep, and the one I picked up that time didn't make me feel nearly as crappy as "regular" strep does, so I didn't get on top of antibiotics until it was apparent that I had scarlet fever. Go figure.
Taing a full dropper full of Echinacea tincture every hour can usually clear up strep in 24 hours. I am not sure why every one is so scared of strep (yes, I have had it). Most times it can be healed naturally. That said in a small child if it accompanied scarlet fever I would probably do abx is nothing else worked right away.
While there are old threads on treating strep naturally it doesn't work in every case. As you said, it works best when starting immediately. Even then, it doesn't always work. Treating strep naturally is definitely a good idea but if it begins to progress rapidly or become severe it is time to seriously consider abx. However, even when they are warranted, using other methods to heal the body are a good idea. I have battled chronic strep/scarlet fever for many years. I have read all of those threads and tried to resolve each case naturally. I had it 5 times in a row last year. I did take abx the first two times because I was not responding to any other natural treatments and was getting worse. Obviously, the abx were not a cure all because it kept coming back. By the 3rd time I was able to use natural methods exclusively. Each subsequent case was less severe and it finally disappeared. I am thankful that abx were available when I needed them but also know they weren't solving the long term problem. I used a combination of echinacea, usnea, Standard Process Congaplex, and homeopathy throughout. I really feel that the usnea and strep nosode (under a practitioners care) were what finally did the trick. For the last three cases I took appropriate doses of each until the symptoms subsided. Anyway, I know you have treated it but wanted to share my story of treating both naturally and w/ abx. I hope it doesn't come back and that your focus on her overall nutrition and gut healing continue to make her healthy and happy!
Wow. I feel like I took a wrong turn and ended up at the Parenting Magazine forums...???
I never said I wasn't going to treat her, or that I was going to 'deny her medical treatment'. I understand what strep is and the possible (and very rare complications) that it involves. Otherwise I wouldn't be here asking for help with alternatives, I would just forego the antibiotics like I have done every other time. Of course she will get medical treatment. I am investigating what that treatment will entail.
Why would I consider alternative treatments? Because I love my kids and want to do what's best for them. And I have learned the hard way that it is always necessary (for me) to question what allopathic medicine touts as law.
Scarlet fever is strep with a rash. The rash came before anything else actually. She is atopic and was reacting to the toxins produced by strep. SF is not an advanced case of strep, its a different way of reacting to it from what I can tell, or perhaps it is a slightly different strain of the bacteria. Her infection does seem quite serious, however. The swelling on her neck seems to be out of the ordinary for regular old strep throat like I had as a kid. I will probably give her the abx, much and all as I don't want to. She's been sick for three days and doesn't seem to be getting better. Also, it seems that rheumatic fever is probably due to an overactive immune system which dd does have and that makes me slightly nervous.
I'm still waiting for some old-school MDC mamas to chime in here though. I know people have treated strep/scarlet fever alternatively. There are some great older threads about this.
ok i dont know how long this post was posted as i cant see, howeve just like to point out that the rash is an allergic reaction to the poison emitted from the bacteria in strep, some people get it some people dont, depends on the imunity, so those who have better immunity tend to just have strep throat those whos immunity is rubbish tend to have the SF. both my daughters have just had it (i say just had it it was about 4 weeks ago) they both have had their course of antibiotis however one of mine is completely better but the other has started out in it again over the past couple of days. im not someone who does alternative medicine however i do not like antibiotics and avoid them at all costs. with this scarlet fever there has been no hesitation to givin them abx and if my daughter who still has sf needs more then i will give her more. i no the seriousness of sf and i dont wanna take n e chances
Bee propolis, breastmilk, Caprylic acid, Echinacea all have medical research support: http://www.greenmedinfo.com/search/node/strep
In view of the extremely low incidence of potentially severe post-streptococcal sequelae such as rheumatic fever in affluent Western communities, rising antibiotic resistance rates, and the high carrier rate of group A streptococci in children, we advocate prudent prescription behaviour with respect to penicillin. General practitioners are recommended to treat children having an acute sore throat only when they are severely ill (unable to drink, an imminent quinsy) or at high risk (history of rheumatic fever, having an anatomical or immunological disorder, high incidence of streptococcal infections in the community). "
An abnormal rapid strep test: An abnormal or positive strep test means that strep bacteria are present.
A positive test result does not distinguish those people with an active strep infection from those who are carriers of strep bacteria but actually have a viral infection (rather than a bacterial one).
More practice guidelines: http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/35/2/113.full
In this large study, 60% of school aged children harbor strep and are non-symptomatic carriers. Thus, the presence of a positive strep culture is basically "normal" and irrelevant, except in the severely compromised group listed above. http://www.chp.edu/CHP/111504
"Chronic carriers of group A strep probably do not pose a threat to themselves or to others. There is no evidence that these children or their contacts become infected with the strains that these children carry. Therefore, they do not require antibiotic therapy to prevent suppurative or nonsuppurative (acute rheumatic fever, acute poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis) complications." http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2851340/
Ok, do we see an issue here? Most kids have strep in their throat. Whenever they have a sore throat they get a rapid step POSITIVE test and they are given antibiotics, EVEN THOUGH the child may only have a viral infection.
Plus, even when the strep is POSITIVE, one doesn't necessarily have any infectious process develop. http://www.smartparentshealthykids.com/blog/?p=1811
In regard to "Rheumatic Fever":
"Putting Things in Perspective
Roughly 2,000 kids die each year from car accidents. Based on the latest UNICEF stats there are probably about 30,000,000 kids in the U.S between the ages of 5-15. Let’s also assume that every one of them got a Strep throat infection this year. Then let’s assume that we did not treat any of them for their Strep throat. If you do the math that would mean that some where between 10 and 100 kids would die from Heart disease that resulted from ARF. Putting it another way – your child is roughly 20 to 200 times more likely to die as the result of a car accident than from ARF and Heart disease. Again those are just the numbers. Check out the references above and do the math yourself, then… You Decide."