If you want to prevent strep throat, washing your hands thoroughly can make a difference.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “the spread of all types of GAS infection can be reduced by good hand washing, especially after coughing and sneezing, and before preparing foods or eating.”1
Antibacterial Soap Will Not Do You Any Good
Because strep throat is a disease that comes from a bacterial infection, you’d think an antibacterial soap would solve this problem right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Most bacterial soap brands contain triclosan, an antibacterial agent that supposedly wards off bacteria and kill germs.
However, studies have shown that triclosan changes hormone regulation, interferes with fetal development in pregnant women, disrupts your endocrines, and enhances the growth of liver and kidney tumors.2
A test conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2013 also highlights why triclosan-laden items are not effective at all.
Twenty FDA-proposed bacterial strains were exposed to plain soap and antibacterial soap with 0.3 percent triclosan for 20 seconds, in both room and warm temperature. This was done to mimic hand-washing conditions usually done by adults.
Study volunteers had their hands dabbed with bacteria and used either type of soap and warm water to wash their hands. The results, then published in The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, showed that antibacterial soap was not effective at all. According to the researchers:3
“Antibacterial soap containing triclosan (0.3 percent) was no more effective than plain soap at reducing bacterial contamination when used under 'real-life' conditions.”
You don’t have to resort to harmful antibacterial soaps to keep your body clean and free from disease. To ensure you and your loved ones won’t be affected by strep throat, follow these guidelines when washing your hands:
- Wash your hands with warm, running water and a mild soap (not an antibacterial one).
- Scrub your hands for at least 15 to 20 seconds (most people only wash their hands for about 6 seconds). Work up a good lather that reaches your wrists.
- See to it that you cover all the surfaces, such as the backs of your hands, wrists, in between your fingers, and around and below your fingernails.
- Rinse your hands thoroughly under running water.
- In public places, use a paper towel to open the door to protect yourself from germs residing on the handle.
Avoid excessively washing your hands, especially in dry environments, such as during the winter months. This can heighten your risk of illness by drying out the skin and creating small cuts or tears. You can also use vinegar and 3 percent hydrogen peroxide as a natural alternative to triclosan-containing antibacterial cleaners. Put the liquids in separate spray bottles and use one followed by the other.
Avoid Processed Junk Foods
Aside from washing your hands, switching from processed food to organic and "real" food is a crucial step in preventing strep throat and other diseases.
Processed food is low in nutrients, high in refined carbohydrates, and abundant in artificial ingredients such as preservatives. Furthermore, it can lead to addictions and is associated with obesity and cancer. Compare this to real and organic foods like fruits, vegetables, grass-fed meat, and dairy products. All of these have essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other compounds that can greatly improve your body.
Real and organic food also happens to be some of the best immune system boosters your body will need. The immune system serves as the body’s “shield” by fighting disease-causing bacteria and germs. With fresh produce, meat and dairy products, your body will be healthy and strong.
Meat and Dairy Products
You can also complement your diet with a high-quality supplement to improve your immune system. Some of your best bets include:
- Olive leaf extract
- Elder flower extract
Don’t Neglect Your Vitamin C and D Levels
Exposure to UVB sunlight rays, the body’s best source for vitamin D, plays a role in developing a strong immune system. Maintaining vitamin D levels between 50 and 70 ng/ml allows your body to combat infections and chronic inflammation, since this vitamin is responsible for producing 200 to 300 various anti-microbial peptides in the body that kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
If you cannot have access to sunlight, then it is recommended to take a vitamin D3 supplement, along with vitamin K2. Increasing your vitamin C intake, whether from real food or supplements, also aids in warding off illnesses. This vitamin is an antioxidant known for decreasing your risk of getting viral illnesses and allergy-related conditions.
If you happen go to school or work with someone who already has the disease, you should avoid or lessen contact with the infected person.4 You can also ask the person to cover his or her mouth when coughing or sneezing,5 and refrain from sharing personal items such as drinking glasses or eating utensils.6
However, if you’re diagnosed with strep throat, make sure to rest and refrain from going to work or school until the symptoms greatly improve or you are fully healed.7