Last month, on Facebook, I asked anyone if they had any questions they’d like answered about herbs, and the lovely Piper wanted to know how to manage a sore throat naturally with her toddler.
So today’s the day! It’s Q&A Wednesday, and I’ve got an A for your Q!
What Causes Sore Throats
First of all, if we’re going to manage a sore throat naturally, we must first figure out what caused it since the methods will be different depending on the cause.
Basically, if your little one has a sore throat, it’s due to 1 of 3 things.
- Virus: cold, flu, mono, mumps, laryngitis, croup
- Bacteria: strep, diphtheria, other infection
- Irritant: low humidity, yelling, allergies, postnasal drip, acid reflux, injury
Symptoms of a Sore Throat
It doesn’t take a medical degree to diagnose a sore throat, but I’m gonna list the symptoms here anyway. Just be aware that your kiddo may or may not have all of these symptoms at once.
- pain or scratchy sensation
- pain that worsens with swallowing or talking
- difficulty swallowing
- dry throat
- swollen neck glands
- hoarse or muffled voice
- white patches or pus on back of throat
- refusal to eat
How To Manage A Sore Throat Naturally
Okay, so like I said before, how you manage a sore throat naturally will be based on what the cause is. Sometimes you won’t know the cause until you go to the doctor and have tests run, but many times you can tell just by the symptoms, the people you’ve been around, the environment, or your recent activities.
Viral Sore Throats
If your toddler has a virus, hopefully, you know that antibiotics will do no good. Basically, all you can do is let it run it’s course, boost your body’s immune system, and treat the symptoms.
In order to boost the immune system, you can use healthy foods, herbs, and supplements that give nutrition to your body. Healthy fats, broths, and cutting back on dairy, meat, and sugar will all help when it comes to your diet. Echinacea is one of the best and most used herbal supplements available. It stimulates the immune system to fight off those nasty viruses!
- Don’t use echinacea if you have an autoimmune disorder!
- Discontinue use after 1-2 weeks so your body doesn’t become tolerant to it.
- Caution if you have allergies to ragweed.
Bacterial Sore Throats
If your kid’s sore throat is due to bacteria… like in the case of strep throat… you have work to do.
First, you need to do the same things you would do if you were treating a viral sore throat… nutrition and immune boosting supplements… because you want to give your body the best possible chance to do what it can on its own.
Next, you need to focus on antibacterial herbs or supplements that can help kill off the bacteria in the throat. It may be as simple as eating garlic or making a garlic rinse to gargle and swallow several times a day, or it could be that you’d rather have a tincture on hand to give throughout the day. You can even make a throat spray (I share my favorite one in this free e-book) that you’d use to spray directly into the back of the throat or take advantage of essential oils and add them to some oil to rub on your kiddos throat in the morning and at night. Check out this article about using garlic to help a sore throat – The #1 Herb To Have On Hand During The Winter Months.
There are a lot of options for helping your body deal with bacteria naturally. If you’re searching for supplements that will help with bacterial sore throats, look for products that are anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, mucilaginous, or relaxants. (Mucilaginous herbs make things slick and slippery by the way!)
Sore Throats Due To Irritants
Again… treating sore throats based on what their cause is will be the key to your success in getting over it quicker. This is particularly true with sore throats due to irritants. Below are just some examples of how you can make your kiddo more comfy with some typical irritants.
Low humidity – put a humidifier in their room while they sleep or try an herbal steam
Yelling – mucilaginous and anti-inflammatory herbs, staying quiet
Allergies – anti-inflammatory herbs, homeopathic supplements
Postnasal drip – herbs with astringent or drying properties, blowing nose frequently
Acid reflux – work at balancing stomach acid, look into cause of regurgitation such as weak esophageal sphincter
Injury – anti-inflammatory and mucilaginous herbs, rest
Keeping Your Kiddo Comfy
Honestly, treating your little one’s sore throat isn’t always the most difficult part. Keeping them comfortable and in the least amount of pain as possible can be the tricky part. Below is a list of comfort measures you can take to help your little one feel better.
- Alternating warm & cool liquids
- Soft foods
- Humidifier or vaporizer
- Herbal candies or cough drops
- Voice rest
- Distractions to keep their minds off their throat