Almost everyone experiences the nuisances of an itchy throat for multiple reasons.
Itchy throat is a common sign of conditions like hay fever and other allergies.
Moreover, it can also occur as an early sign of viral or bacterial infection.
However, to make sure what exactly causes your itchy throat, you should medical advice or visit your doctor.
They can help and suggest to treat your condition.
There are also different home remedies you can try at home to relieve an itchy throat.
If you are interested in trying some, you can discuss it with your doctor first.
They can also give you recommendations on which remedy is safe to try, even if research is lacking on its effectiveness.
Keep on reading to learn more about the causes and remedies for an itchy throat.
Causes of an Itchy Throat
Irritated itchy throat can occur due to a wide range of factors.
In most cases, the cause of an itchy thrat can be:
Also known as hay fever, allergic rhinitis is one of the most common causes of an itchy throat.
Moreover, as many as 40 to 60 million Americans are affected by this condition.
Allergic rhinitis occurs when your body overreacts to an otherwise harmless substance.
As a result, your body releases chemicals, i.e. histamines that cause these overreactions.
Some common triggers are pollen, dander, dust, and irritants like cigarette smoke or exhaust fumes.
Allergic reactions to food can occur when your body reacts to certain things when you consume them as if they are going to harm your body.
Reactions often develop within minutes or a few hours after consuming the trigger food.
It is important to note that the allergy can be mild with symptoms stopping with an itchy throat or mouth.
However, they can also be life-threatening.
Common triggers foods are peanuts, shellfish, eggs, milk, and wheat.
One of the important things to note is that a number of people suffer from allergies to certain medications.
These often include penicillin and other antibiotics.
Moreover, the severity of the allergy can range from mild to life-threatening.
Some of the symptoms of a drug allergy can include an itchy throat that begins shortly after taking a new medication.
Bacterial and Viral Infections
Strep throat or bacterial causes of tonsilitis can begin with an itchy throat before progressing to a more severe sore throat.
On the other hand, viruses like the common cold or the flu virus can both cause an itchy throat.
If it is just cold, the itchy throat is unlikely to progress past being mildly sore.
However, if you have a flu infection, then the throat soreness will e more severe and can be accompanied by fever, body aches, and chest discomfort.
Learn more about 10 Home Remedies for Sore Throat here.
Other Causes of Itchy Throat
Some other causes of an itchy throat are:
Dehydration occurs when your body loses more water than it takes in.
It is often common during hot weather, after exercise, or during illness.
Moreover, dehydration can cause a dry mouth, a temporary condition where your mouth and throat do not have enough saliva.
This can cause an itchy feeling in your throat.
Acid reflux or heartburn is a condition in which the acid from your stomach tends to move towards your throat.
However, in case you have chronic acid reflux, you can also experience throat problems.
An itchy throat or a sore throat is unlikely to be the only symptom of reflux.
But you may be among those who have a condition called silent reflux and may only notice a chronic, itchy throat as a symptom.
Side Effects of Medications
Some medications can cause dry coughs and an itchy throat that are not due to allergic reactions.
If you are among people who take ACE inhibitors for high blood pressure, then you should be aware that ACE inhibitors can cause an itchy throat and dry cough.
In most cases, these symptoms will begin shortly after starting an ACE inhibitor.
And these are also not accompanied by other symptoms that you commonly experience with an itchy throat.
Related Symptoms of an Itchy Throat
In most cases, an itchy throat is not the only symptom you will deal with.
Symptoms can occur along with an itchy throat and vary with the underlying cause.
When an itchy throat occurs due to allergic rhinitis, it can also be accompanied by any combination of the following symptoms:
- runny or stuffy nose
- sinus pressure
- itchy eyes and skin
- swollen, red, or watery eyes
However, when it occurs due to drug or food allergies, it can occur along with a number of other symptoms ranging from mild to needing immediate emergency medical treatment.
The symptoms that occur with an itchy throat due to drug and food allergies are:
A red itchy rash or hives, redness of the skin around the eyes, itchy ears, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
Moreover, some other symptoms are:
- swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat
- trouble breathing or swallowing
- a sense of doom
- drop in blood pressure
- loss on consciousness
It can be difficult to differentiate between an itchy throat that occurs due to allergic rhinitis from those that occur due to an illness.
In both cases, it may be accompanied by nasal congestion or sneezing.
In case an itchy throat occurs due to an acute illness, it will most likely be short-lived and accompanied by a combination of the following symptoms:
- swollen glands
- muscle aches
- a headache
- a cough
- nasal congestion
However, when an itchy throat occurs due to dehydration, some other symptoms can be extreme thirst, dry mouth, and infrequent dark urine.
In case your itchy throat occurs due to reflux or heartburn, other symptoms may include difficulty or pain when swallowing, gas, inflamed gums, and a bad taste in the mouth.
While other symptoms are:
- burning sensation in the chest or throat
- worn down tooth enamel
- inflamed voice box
Home Remedies for Itchy Throat
The following are some popular remedies for itchy throat that advocates natural medicine.
However, it is important to note that these herbal remedies are not subject to regulation by the FDA.
So they have not been tested in an FDA-approved clinical trial.
Thus, it is important to check with your doctor before starting any alternative treatments.
Garge with Salt water
To use this remedy, mix 1/2 teasppon of salt in 8 ounces of warn water.
Sip and gargle for 10 seconds, and spit it out.
Make sure to never swallow the mixture. Repeat this remedy 2 to 3 times a day.
Eating a tablespoon of honey, preferably raw, local honey in the morning can help.
Drink Hot Ginger ea with Lemon and Honey
For this remedy, put 1 tablespoon of honey into a cup, fill it with hot water, squeeze the juice from 2 lemons, and grate in a small amount of fresh ginger.
Stir the beverage, and drink slowly.
Repat this remedy 2 to 3 times a day.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into 8 ounces of hot water, and once cool enough, drink it slowly.
However, to improve its taste, you can add a tablespoon of maple syrup or a tablespoon of honey.
Some other common remedies are:
Milk and Turmeric
Over medium heat, in a small saucepan, add 1 teaspoon of turmeric into 8 ounces of mix and bring it to a boil.
Pour the mixture into a cup and all it to cool to a comfortable drinking temperature and drink slowly.
Repeat this remedy every evening until the throat itch subsides.
For this remedy, mix together 1 tablespoon of horseradish, 1 teaspoon of ground cloves, and 1 teaspoon of honey.
Make sure that you use natural horseradish root, not its sauce.
Then, fill with hot water and stir the mix thoroughly. Moreover, it is important to drink the mixture slowly.
Different herbal tea can help to soothe an itchy throat.
Some popular options are:
- stinging nettles
- Dong Quai
- red clover
- slippery elm
- milk thistle
Whole other self-care for itchy throat can include using over-the-counter, OTC allergy medications, lozenges, and nasal sprays, as well as OTC cold medications.
There are steps that you can take to prevent an itchy throat from occurring.
These steps can vary depending on the cause of the itchy throat.
Moreover, a number of people find that they can help reduce the risk of an itchy throat if they do the following:
- quit smoking
- drinking plenty of water
- avoiding caffeine and alcohol
- washing hands frequently during cold and flu season
- avoiding opening windows and going outside during allergy season
When to See a Doctor?
It is important to note that your doctor will not always need to examine an itchy throat.
In fact, an itchy throat will often respond to self-care in most cases.
However, you should call your doctor if the symptoms tend to last for more than 10 days or get worse, or if they do not respond to self-care.
Moreover, you seek immediate medical advice in the event of an itchy throat comes along with the following:
- facial swelling
- a severe sore throat
- difficulty swallowing
- trouble breathing
Any of the above situations may need immediate medical care, treatment with antibiotics or antiviral medications, or management of serious allergies.
The Bottom Line
An itchy throat is a common condition that occurs due to a number of reasons like allergies, common cold, flu, acid reflux, etc.
With the help of home remedies like gargling with salt water, using honey, apple cider vinegar, etc, you can help treat this condition.