My Throat Hurts! What Do I Do?

Ugh, we’ve all experienced that awful feeling when your throat is burning, and it’s so tough to get relief. Let’s check out some old and new symptom relievers to make the pain go away.

Go Away, Sore Throat!

Unfortunately, a sore throat is usually a symptomatic preview to an oncoming cold. Or the flu. Boosting your immune system may dull the onset of a viral germ attack. It may also quicken your healing time. In the meanwhile, here are some treatments you can try that should help relieve some discomfort.

Tried and True with a Twist

Warm water and honey are soothing and help coat your throat. There are several other ingredients you can separately or mix and match.


  • turmeric– add a teaspoon as an anti-inflammatory
  • apple cider vinegar- add a teaspoon as an anti-bacterial
  • fresh lemon juice- add just a couple of drops for a boost of vitamin C. Too much acidity may burn, so keep the content minimal
  • ginger- grate a little from a ginger root to steep in the liquid. Ginger has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
Turmeric Curcumin

All Natural Alternative


There are several essential oils that can help relieve your sore throat. The key is to use them properly and safely. Do not ingest them without the guidance of a naturopath and utilizing quality products. The best way to use them effectively, in this case, is:

  1. a) add drops to hot water and gargle. Do not swallow.
  2. b) add drops to boiling water and inhale the steam. Never put your face close to the water and always remove the pot from the stove before inhaling.


  • peppermint oil- contains menthol, which helps soothe
  • eucalyptus oil- stimulates the immune system
  • juniper berry oil- contains powerful anti-oxidants
  • oregano oil- great for treating many types of infections
Top 6 Certified organic Essential Oils

Traditional Treatments and Thoughts

  • Get a ton of rest.
  • Eat soup. It’s soothing, and you can add all types of healing spices to your broth. Cloves and garlic are excellent suggestions and will add yummy flavor. Fresh veggies can help improve your immune responses too.
  • Drink tea. Stay away from caffeinated tea, actually all caffeinated beverages. You don’t need to rev up your system right now. Also, they dehydrate. The key is to stay as hydrated as possible. Chamomile is calming. Any teas with Echinacea and lemon will be perfect.
  • Use natural throat sprays and lozenges. It may be a slight challenge to find, but it will be worth it. Get a spray or drops you can suck on that have cooling effects. Anything with menthol will be nice. Try to avoid any product with sugar or even artificial sweeteners. Gelatin drops with lemon or honey are great.
  • Salt water is always a worthy go-to.

Good luck getting rid of your bug and your pain quickly! If it lasts for several days, you may want to check with your physician in case it’s bacterial (like strep.) Make sure to stay rested, eat well, and wash your hands with soap often. Hopefully, this will help prevent you from coming down with something you’d rather avoid in the future.


Is it a Cold or Flu and What Do I Do?

‘Tis the season we hear sniff, sniff, a-a-choo! Just “hoping” we don’t catch a cold or the flu isn’t going help. Taking precautions may work, but if not, here are some ideas to feel better soon.

Willing it Away

If you truly don’t want to catch the bugs floating around this time of year, there are several precautions you can take. Here are some non-medicinal strategies you can use to keep the sick away:

1) Sleep. When you get tired, take a nap, or go to sleep. If you absolutely cannot, then breathe, get done what you must, and then get thee to a bed. Do not pump up on coffee or other caffeine. That will falsely revive you and weaken your immune system.

2) Stay calm. It’s the time of year when stress builds; it could be the foreboding holiday worries, finances, kids and school, etc. When you feel yourself stressing out, remind yourself to shake it off. Do you want to get sick? No? Good. Then breath, smile, take a bath, hug someone you love. Do nice things for yourself.

3) Drink lots of water and other non-sugary beverages. Keep flushing out. Stay hydrated.

4) Wash your hands with soap and water several times a day. Germs are everywhere. You can seriously avoid getting infected if you wash them away before they get you.

5) Eat fresh foods high in vitamins A, B, and C and zinc. Take supplements if you’re feeling especially vulnerable.

Calm The Mind
Calm The Mind

A Small Defeat

Let’s say you tried everything listed above, but you still got sick. Oh, well. You did your best. If you’ve been healthy, this setback shouldn’t put you down for too long.

Is it a Cold?

If it starts with fatigue, a scratchy or sore throat, and/or a headache, it’s probably a cold—especially if it comes on gradually. With a cold, you shouldn’t get feverish (unless it develops into a sinus infection or something else bacterial.) Just a stuffy nose, coughing, and some crankiness, but not enough to keep you in bed.

Is it the Flu?

Usually, the flu hits quickly and knocks you out of commission. Here’s a list of what you might experience: headache, fever, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, vomiting and/or diarrhea.

Influenza (“the flu”) and a cold are both viral. There is no cure. Antibiotics will not work. Go back and examine the prevention list and those will help your body overcome the virus more quickly.

Some doctors may prescribe an antiviral medicine for the flu. But a cold you’ll have to suffer through too. Over-the-counter remedies are simply to aid with symptoms.

Another Form of Cure

Some people swear by essential oils. Essential oils are extracts from plants and flowers, making them a purely natural wellness entity. If used properly, essential oils can be safe. They can provide balance and promote the body’s restoration from illness.

Essential oils can be smelled, rubbed onto the skin, or ingested. Essential oils should be diluted with water or a carrier oil like jojoba or almond. Applying a small amount of diluted oils onto your skin permeate the cell walls to deliver nutrition and remove waste. (But don’t rub potent oils on children’s skin.)

Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary Essential Oil

Ingesting essential oils should only be done with precaution. A couple of drops into some foods or drinks are perfectly acceptable, for adults. For both kids and grown-ups you can try:

1) Black Elderberry. Said to improve flu symptoms in two days.

2) Echinacea. For general immunity strengthening.

3) Chamomile. A calming herb with anti-inflammatory properties.

4) Ginger. Has a long history of use in alleviating nausea and vomiting.


For other tips on maintaining optimum health, check out

A Possible New (and Ancient) Way to Prevent Tooth Decay

In with the Old, In with the New

Researchers are theorizing that using nanoparticles may be a new way to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. The ancient practice of oil pulling claims to accomplish the same.

Modern Research

A new study was conducted at the University of Pennsylvania based on a theory of combining hydrogen peroxide with nanoparticles. The idea is that the combination of the two could clear biofilms on teeth. From sugar consumption, biofilms form and hide bacteria. Alas, the mixture cleared the biofilms, preventing the possibility of tooth decay from hidden bacteria.

Nanoparticles are tricky. The researchers knew they could act like enzymes in the right environment. This would allow them to produce free radicals that would kill bacteria in the mouth and on teeth. Free radicals, however, are what we try to eliminate inside our body. The researchers address this concern and claim the quantity of nanoparticles used so minute that it shouldn’t have an adverse effect.

Lucky Exams

Here’s where human trials come into play. So far, the experiments have been used on surfaces similar to that of tooth enamel. Streptococcus mutants are the bacterium that causes tooth decay. Using the unique mixture, over 99% of the bacteria was killed within five minutes. That’s about 5,000 times greater result than using just plain ole hydrogen peroxide.

The scientists reported that just one-minute treatments with the solution (twice a day) reduced the risk of cavity—tremendously. That, of course, is compared to using just hydrogen peroxide. Oh, and the study was conducted on rats.

Old, Old, Very Old-School Dentistry

It may sound bizarre, but swishing oil inside your mouth has been practiced for thousands of years. The best oil would be coconut, sunflower, or sesame. You don’t gargle, but rather swish the oil around your mouth and gums. You also ”pull” the oil through your teeth. It’s called “oil pulling” and it touts many oral benefits that also translate to increased overall health.

Oil-Pulling Lesson

Dentists and hygienists recommend 20 minutes, twice a day, for optimum response. Beginning with five minutes is an excellent start. Place about a tablespoon of oil in your mouth—again, do not gargle with it. And don’t swallow it. Swish it through every nook and cranny, pulling the liquid between your teeth. Use your tongue. Work your jaw. When you’re done, spit it out and rinse with water or even a baking soda mix.

It’s Not Just for Your Tooth

Oil pulling improves gum health, too. Scientific studies show that this process significantly reduces plaque and kills bacteria. You don’t want bacteria in your mouth because it’s a very quick way for it to enter into your bloodstream. That can lead to disease anywhere in your body.

Proper dental care through brushing and flossing is essential. Extra steps, such as oil pulling, can help prevent decay and other unwanted health issues. See your hygienist and dentist regularly. As for the newest studies, perhaps someday shortly we’ll find, a quicker, more efficient way to thwart cavities. In the meanwhile, curb those sugars, brush, floss, and pull.

If you’re looking for more up-to-date studies on best health practices for you and your family, check out


How To Choose The Best Probiotic

What Are Probiotics?

Probiotics are living bacteria and yeasts that happen to be great for the digestive system.  There are millions of good and bad bacteria, named microbiota or more commonly, gut flora, living in the digestive system.  Digestive health needs to be balanced and that’s when probiotics can help.  Sounding like something from a 1970’s horror movie like ‘The Andromeda Strain’, probiotics are a health boosting microorganism, living inside of the body’s digestion tract.  In recent years, the public have invested in the industry, which was worth a whopping 46 billion in 2017.


Probiotics have the potential to assist the immune system, improve digestion and possibly aid weight loss.  Dr. Francois-Pierre Martin, Jeremy Nicholson, and colleagues from the Imperial College London, Nestlé Research Centre in Switzerland, and Uppsala University in Sweden were fascinated by the response of the body’s metabolism, once probiotic food was ingested.  Using two groups of mice, one group ingested probiotics and the other did not.  The doctors discovered that the mice who had been given the probiotic were metabolically different to those who had not been treated because of the breakdown product found in the probiotic mice’s urine, liver, and feces.  They experienced changes of bacteria in the gut that had an effect on the way their liver processed fat, suggesting that probiotic may help with weight loss.  Microbiotas are also thought to be the link between health and sickness, with researchers suggesting that cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, and the immune system may all be affected and possibly controlled my these organisms.

Where To Find Probiotics

Probiotics can be found in supplements or in food that has bacterial fermentation with lactic acid.  An obvious example of this would be yogurt which contains live bacteria.  If recently prescribed antibiotics, a doctor may suggest these kinds of yogurts, to replace the good bacteria (Lactobacillus Acidophilus) in the gut, decreasing the side effects from taking the medicines.  The good probiotics help with various ailments, some of which include, yeast infections, diabetes and bad cholesterol.  There are many probiotic yogurts and drinks availablle in local stores, here are just a few:


  • Kefir
  • Kombucha (fermented tea combined with a culture of yeast and bacteria)
  • Activia yogurt
  • Emergen-C
  • DanActive Probiotic Dallies
  • Miso
  • Pickles


What Are The Types Of Probiotics?

Out of the many types of probiotic, Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the most common.  There are also numerous combinations of probiotics in supplements, called multi-probiotics. The choice of priobiotic depends heavily on which illness or health problem being treated.  If the issue is a little more complex, for example a digestive problem, visiting a doctor and obtaining a prescription would be beneficial.  There are many on the market, but plenty of research is available online, to give some ideas of which provide the most benefits.  Some suggestions include:


  • VSL (labeled Probiotic Medical Food): the highest available concentration of good bacteria.  Depending on the amount required, the box is labeled #1-3, with #3 being the highest, and it is commonly prescribed to treat IBS or severe digestive issues.  Refrigeration is essential because many probiotics are heat sensitive, which can kill the active ingredients
  • Multibionta: helps digestive tract and the immune system.
  • Prescript-Assist: used to help with allergies, gas, constipation.  Replenishes healthy GI Microflora and refrigeration is not required.
  • Hyper biotics PRO-15: time release tablets ideal for digestive health and to support a healthy immune system.
Not Your Average Probiotic
Not Your Average Probiotic


Doctors advise that many products don’t contain a high enough count of probiotic, with 99% of the product being killed off by stomach acids, before progressing through the gut.  Knowing the products and getting advice by a professional could save a lot of money.  Probiotics should not be taken by people who have late stage cancer, are undergoing chemotherapy, or have a compromised immune system.

So after the next health assessment, consider probiotics, it may just help keep that good bacteria in check.



Science Daily


British Medical Journal

Deadly Bacteria Rising – New Breathalyzer May Improve Health

Stronger strains of bacteria are appearing and increased resistance to antibiotics is the direct cause of over 20,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. A recently published study shows the effectiveness of a new breath test. The test can detect whether a pneumonia case is bacterial or viral. These issues/discoveries are critically connected.

Pneumonia Stats

In the U.S., between five and 10 million people contract pneumonia each year. For those who are hospitalized, the death rate can be as high as 25 %. If you’ve already been hospitalized for another condition (auto immune, cancer, etc.) and then you additionally develop pneumonia, your mortality rate jumps to about 60% and is even higher in women.

Antibiotic Stats

About 70 years ago, we were blessed with the discovery (creation) of antibiotics. Unfortunately, over the decades, they have been grossly misused. What happens is that bacteria eventually become resistant to antibiotics. Bacteria have a survival instinct, too. Antibiotic resistance will ultimately occur because of evolutionary natural selection, but the misuse and overuse of antibiotics is dramatically escalating the process.

Drugs begin to work less effectively when they are taken too frequently, for too short a time, too small a dose, at inadequate strengths, or for the wrong disease. Low and/or unfinished doses of antibiotics don’t kill all the bacteria completely. This actually encourages the remaining bacteria to develop into a stronger version of itself, (so that next time you won’t be able to kill it.)

Increasing resistance is also derived from our industrial farms— up to 70 percent of all antibiotics produced in the U.S. are given to food animals, not people. For example, antibiotics are used in cattle, poultry, and swine when an individual animal becomes sick; but entire herds or flocks are given antibiotics to prevent disease from living in crowded, contagious, unsanitary conditions.

This overuse trickles down to humans who are ingesting foods from these animals. Additionally, their waste enters our soil and water supplies. It’s even been noted that, “Antibiotic-resistant bacteria can become airborne when vented from concentrated animal housing.”

Viral or Bacterial?

Another cause for overuse of antibiotics is that they’ve been prescribed misguidedly for viruses. That won’t help. It just decreases the effectiveness of antibiotics when we actually need them for a bacterial infection. (Scary note: The CDC reports that at least 2 million people became infected last year with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.)

Here’s the Good News:

A breath test has recently been developed and tested by a team of Chinese researchers. Their study shows that the breathalyzer can distinguish if a person’s pneumonia is viral or bacterial. This is incredibly important because antibiotics won’t be “wrongly” prescribed and proper treatment can ensue. This, in effect, is another way in which we can slow the rate of antibiotic resistance.

Breathalyzer-type tests have been developed over the past recent years, successfully, to identify diseases such as diabetes, asthma, and even lung cancer. Innovation can be put to helpful use, especially in times of potential crises.

For more articles about health and wellness, read GetThrive everyday!

Tired Too Often? It’s More than a Gut Feeling

If you’re tired all the time…

your condition may be linked to your gut. A new study shows a link between Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and gut bacteria.

How Ya Doin’?

Do you wake up feeling exhausted? Are you extremely tired after doing even the most mundane tasks? You sleep, take naps, and yet you can’t shake the sensation of tiredness. You could be suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. And it could be caused by inflammation and a bacterial imbalance in your gut.

Getting Diagnosed

Here’s the thing. Many doctors have difficulty diagnosing CFS. It can also be referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME). There is no specific blood test or easily read biomarkers. Psychological factors, viruses, and infections can cause extreme tiredness. To deem one’s condition with a “chronic” label is a serious diagnosis.

According to the Mayo Clinic website, CFS has nine signs and symptoms. The first, of course, is fatigue. The others include: enlarged lymph nodes in neck or armpits, unexplained muscle pain, random joint pain, and an unusual headache. Other symptoms are: un-refreshing sleep, exhaustion lasting more than a full day after exercise, loss of memory, and a sore throat. You can see why other diagnoses would be considered first.

What are the Causes?

Until now, doctors or scientists who have diagnosed CFS, have been perplexed about exact causes. Some believe certain viruses might trigger the syndrome. Perhaps an impaired immune system leaves individuals susceptible to CFS. Hormonal imbalances have also been studied as a possible cause offsetting the condition.

Finally, a recent study offers more in the way of reason. Your gut bacteria and inflammatory agents in the blood may cause CFS.

Researchers at Cornell University studied stool samples of the 77 participants. Forty-eight had already been diagnosed with CFS, while the other 39 were perfectly healthy. The study, published in the journal Microbiome, showed that those with CFS had less bacterial diversity in the gut. They also had markers showing inflammation. One theory was that “leaky gut” allowed bacteria from the intestines to enter the bloodstream.

What to Do?

As far as the new research shows, the indicators of imbalance in gut bacteria may now be used as one way to test for CFS. Maureen Hanson, a professor involved in the study explained, “Our work demonstrates that the gut bacterial microbiome in chronic fatigue syndrome patients isn’t normal.” It was an indicator in 83 % of the participants in the study. This is a great breakthrough for those who advocate the condition isn’t just “psychological.”

Restoring the gut microbiome balance may be a path to treating CFS. A variety of probiotics may help along with a change in diet. Exploring ways to get your gut bacteria back to healthy levels is a great start. Discuss options with your doctor or naturopath. With this new evidence and proper treatment, your fatigue may no longer remain chronic.

For more information on maintaining balance in the body and mind, check out


Superbug? Open and say, “Oh, no!”

As many as 179 patients may have been exposed to a drug-resistant strain of bacteria – known as a superbug – during endoscopic procedures at the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center last week due to the difficulty in sterilizing a complicated piece of medical equipment.

What happened?

Two duodenscopes inserted down patients’ throats to diagnose and treat pancreatic and bile duct issues may have exposed patients to carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae even though they had been cleaned according to manufacturer’s specifications, according to Reuters. The two instruments have been removed from service and other equipment is now being more rigorously decontaminated, but the infections may have contributed to two deaths, the agency reported.

The issue is not a new one

In addition to buttressing concerns about the lack of proper sterilization of complex medical equipment – occurring in Seattle, Chicago and Pittsburg over the last two years – the most recent outbreak highlights the growing threat of bacteria that do not respond to standard anti-bacterial treatment.

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Can Botox Battle More than Wrinkles? 

Mostly everyone thinks of Botox as the cosmetic injection used to mask facial wrinkles. And although that’s what it’s mostly used for, Botox may also be a successful treatment for migraines, back pain, profuse sweating, TMJ, and perhaps even depression.

Botox in the Beginning

Originally, botulinum toxin type A (Botox) was used to help relax/paralyze muscles that created “crossed eyes.” That was back in 1970’s. In 1989, the FDA approved the use of Botox for that eye condition and also abnormal eyelid spasms. In the 1990’s, a company named Allergen purchased the Botox product for approximately 9-million dollars.

In 2002, it was approved for cosmetic use (with specific dosage) to treat frown lines between the eyebrows. In 2010, Botox was given FDA approval to be used as a treatment for migraine headaches. Today, there are several off-label uses for Botox, which have not yet been approved by the FDA. However, it isn’t stopping people from using it. Currently, it reports a revenue of over 2 ½ billion dollars, most of it from treating wrinkles.

Doctors and Studies

Botox basically “blocks the junction between a nerve and a muscle.” Injected in small doses, the product paralyzes the muscle for a period of time (usually up to 3-5 months.) Discontinued use of whichever muscle is chosen in the treatment can relieve a person’s pain. Cosmetically, it keeps the face from repeating habitual movement, thus lessening the “wrinkled” effects in the skin.

Botox is not a permanent treatment; it must be administered every few months to maintain desired results. Dr. Dave Campbell, a renown spine surgeon and founder of GetThrive sometimes prescribes Botox to patients with migraines. Dr. Campbell believes FDA approval for uses of the product are an important aspect in keeping treatments safe.

After all, Botox is produced from bacteria (Clostridium botulinum)—a bacteria that is 40 million times more powerful than cyanide. Off-label uses may not yet have the research and data from trials of treatments. With proper implementation and dosage Botox can be a successful treatment for particular ailments; however without FDA approval, physicians are taking risks using the product for overactive bladder, facial tics, muscle spasms, and other not-yet approved therapies.

Off-Label Uses

Two of the most current off-label uses of Botox are for relief of TMJ (temporomandibular jaw disorder) and depression. With TMJ, a patient may experience pain in the jaw, around the ear, difficulty chewing, and clicking when opening the mouth. Dentists or other physicians can use Botox to paralyze the masseter muscles in the jaw. This will keep the patient from grinding his teeth or clenching his jaw. The results are pain relief and an extended period where the jaw’s action takes a rest. Secondary pain in the shoulders and neck can also dissipate.

Researchers at the Hannover Medical School in Germany have found that injections of Botox in select facial muscles help to relieve symptoms of depression. Professor Tillman Kruger explained the process this way: “Our emotions are expressed by facial muscles, which in turn send feedback signals to the brain to reinforce those emotions. Treating facial muscles with botulinum toxin interrupts this cycle.” In their 2014 study, after just one Botox treatment, the participants experienced an average of 40% reduction in depression symptoms.

The Warnings

Most insurance will not cover the use of Botox for cosmetic purposes. If it’s an off-label use, chances are it will not be covered either.

You need to follow the explicit directions from your physician after being treated with Botox. The drug can move or migrate to other unintended areas of your body and cause potentially serious side effects. Known adverse affects that can occur are muscle weakness, horse voice, double vision, and bruising. There is no remedy for Botox gone bad except to wait for it to wear off.

With all this said, millions of people are regularly using Botox for various purposes. As with any “drug”, you’ll want to use your personal discretion before putting it in your body. For more details about health, pain management, and beauty, check out