If you have been wondering how to get rid of a scratchy and itchy throat, then you are not alone. If statistics are any index, the condition is far more common than one would believe.
Although, the condition is seldom serious, it can be an irritant as well as intimidating. The condition typically begins as an itchy throat. The irritants and inhaled chemicals can further aggravate the symptoms and you would also begin to experience a persistent scratchy sensation in the throat.
- 1 About Scratchy and Itchy Throats
- 2 Itchy Throats Defined
- 3 The Cause
- 4 Essential Oils For Scratchy and Itchy Throat
- 5 Other Ways To Get Rid Of A Scratchy And Itchy Throat
About Scratchy and Itchy Throats
If you have a persistent urge to cough without provocation, you may be suffering from an itchy throat. The mechanics are fascinating:
The inner throat’s wall is covered with a mucosal membrane which in turn contains nerves. These nerve endings may get irritated by an allergic condition, polluted air, food or even an inflammatory reaction. This would lead to a tickling sensation in the throat and repeated bouts of coughing.
Concurrently, the mucous glands continue to secrete sticky fluid called mucus which covers the inner wall of the throat. In instances where this secretion dries out, like when exposed to dehydration or dry air, an itchy or scratchy throat is the natural outcome.
Itchy Throats Defined
This relatively common condition can be best defined as a persistent irritation of the throat which may or may not be accompanied with a bacterial or even a viral infection.
Some of the common causes of an itchy or scratchy throat may well include any of these:
Typically during winter months it is possible that the indoor heating may have been set at a very high level and this may lead to an intense drying of the throat. The condition is better known as ‘Sick Building Disease’ in medical parlance. Here is our detailed article on how to get rid of a dry throat.
On the contrary, stuffed nose due to a cold could well induce mouth breathing. When one breathes through the mouth, the probability of drying of the throat is higher and leading to an itchy or even scratchy throat.
Regular alcohol consumption is yet another reason for early drying out of the tissues lining the throat. This in turn leads to a slower secretion of mucus and a persistent itch in the throat.
People who drink regularly present with a persistent dry throat. The condition usually begins with an itchy sensation and subsequently results in experiencing an itchy sensation.
One of the causes is dehydration. This is a medical condition which can typically lead to significant drop in the production of mucus by the throat. Thus, the throat loses the protection and the nerves get irritated. The outcome is predictably a persistently scratchy sensation in the throat.
Contrary to popular belief, excessive consumption of caffeine leads to drying out of the secretion of mucus in the region of the throat. This in turn translates into lower protection of the throat, considering that mucus acts as a sticky and protective layer which lines the inner walls of the throat at all times.
Excessive shouting and excessive talking is never good for the throat. The probability of contracting an itchy throat is yet another reason for conserving your voice and avoiding abuse. Check out our detailed article on how to get your voice back.
Allergies can trigger an itchy throat. Experts have now concluded that regardless of whether the reaction is due to blooming flowers or even something as innocuous as having eaten the wrong food, the outcome is invariably the same.
Gastro-esophageal reflux, also called GERD is a condition when stomach acid comes up into the throat and irritates it, causing burning and itching known as heartburn.
After throwing up, the throat may get irritated and scratchy due to gastric acid. Moreover, it may cause inflammation of the larynx and lungs (aspiration pneumonia) if the ejected content is inhaled.
Snoring irritates the throat that can lead to discomfort and itchy throat. Snoring encourages mouth breathing, which dries the normally moist tissue lining of the throat.
If a piece of seed or fish bone get stuck in the pocket above the epiglottis, then this will most likely cause irritation in the throat. If that’s the case, it’s best to try to cough the foreign body out. Additionally, gargling with water may help to get it swallowed down. Painkillers may be used to relieve pain.
Post nasal drip
Post nasal drip is commonly caused by a viral or bacterial sinusitis. Post nasal drip occurs when there is excessive mucus that drips down at the back of your throat and that constant dripping may cause throat irritation. This drainage at the back of your throat usually triggers the urge to swallow or cough in order to clear the throat. Other causes of post nasal drip are smoking, allergies, pet dander and dust. Moreover, a common cold may also cause sinus drainage when the mucus is dripping from the nose or at the back of the throat.
One of the common causes of an itchy throat are upper respiratory tract infections, such as bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Viral infections (common cold, flu, etc.) and bacterial infections (strep throat, etc.) can happen to any individual who is healthy, however, fungal infections generally happen when the immune system gets compromised with conditions such as prolonged steroid use, anti-cancer chemotherapy, AIDS, organ transplant or diabetes mellitus etc.
Other conditions that may cause throat irritation and scrathy throat are tuberculosis, asthma, and thyroid disease. However, these typically cause other more prominent or noticeable symptoms.
A chronic cough that may lead to a scratchy throat may also be caused by medications such as ACE inhibitors, which are mainly used to cure heart disease and high blood pressure. These are common offenders of otherwise unexplained cough. Examples of ACE inhibitors include enalapril (Vasotec), captopril (Capoten), benazepril (Lotensin), and lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril).
There are numerous other conditions that can cause an itchy and scratchy throat. However, these conditions are quite rare causes for a scratchy throat like Sjögren’s syndrome, bronchitis, pneumonia, trauma or malignant growth in the throat etc.
Essential Oils For Scratchy and Itchy Throat
Peppermint essential oil has antispasmodic properties. It’s a relaxant and expectorant. It’s great for clearing your sinuses, relieving sore throat, itchiness and help with coughing. So inhaling peppermint oil can help clear your sinuses, relieve the pain of a sore throat, and reduce coughing. You can add a few drops of peppermint oil into a diffuser or mix a drop of this oil to a warm cup of tea.
Eucalyptus essential oil is used for many respiratory ailments. It is an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and expectorant. It’s great for wheezing, clearing sinuses, mucus, and allergies. It soothes your itchy sore throat and helps with coughing. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil in a hot bowl of water or your diffuser and breathe in the healing particles.
Lavender oil has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, and anthelmintic properties. Also, it has a calming effect so if you are sick and need a good night’s rest, turn on the diffuser with lavender essential oil before going to sleep.
It’s great for a scratchy sore throat. You can add a few drops of lavender essential oil into your diffuser and breathe in for about 15 minutes.
Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon has been widely used for digestive and respiratory issues. It has a high d-limonene content which makes it a great antioxidant.
Whether your sore and itchy throat is from a cold, bronchitis, flu, or laryngitis, lemon essential oil can help with your ailment.
Other Ways To Get Rid Of A Scratchy And Itchy Throat
Salt Water Gargles
One tablespoon of salt dissolved in eight ounces of water can work wonders for your itchy throat. The salt component increases the secretion of mucus and helps to protect the throat from further irritation. The natural outcome is a significant reduction in symptoms.
Also, warm water works as a natural soothing agent in addition to keeping the throat lining moist.
The procedure is best repeated several times a day and it is advocated that the solution must be thrown out after gargling rather than swallowing the mix.
Honey and Beverages
A cup of warm tea laced with honey can help sooth the throat and reverse the symptoms. The honey acts as a natural soothing agent and the tea keeps you hydrated.
The Chamomile Option
Yet another wonder option is chamomile tea. The rising popularity of chamomile tea in recent years is no mere accident. Chamomile contains great soothing properties to the throat.
Steep three to four spoons of dried chamomile in a quart of hot water. Allow it to cool down a bit before drinking it.
Citrus is a rich source of vitamin C which in turn helps control and even reverses infections caused by bacteria.
Naturalists believe that there is more to citrus fruits than just vitamin C, considering that they can even clear out the phlegm which is commonly associated with throat infections.
Citrus fruits like oranges and lemons are known to be particularly effective in reversing and treating scratchy and itchy throat conditions at any point of time.
One teaspoon of orange or lemon juice can be added to a cup of hot chamomile tea and watch how that itchy throat condition reverses.
Lemon juice will thin out the honey and this in turn will help soothe out the throat, ensuring that the itchy and scratchy sensation subsides.
Hydration and Health
Hydration is important, it can ensure that saliva and mucus are secreted in adequate quantities. Thus, keeping the throat moist and lubricated at all times.
One of the simplest and most natural options is to drink plenty of water. Drinking a minimum of 8 ounces of water a day can work wonders as it soothes out the throat and helps with that scratchy and itchy sensation.
There is more to hydration than just water, as is evident from the fact that experts advocate consuming plenty of hot chicken soup and tea. These hot beverage options help reduce the irritation in the throat.
Humidifiers are great for increase the humidity or moisture content in the air within the room. When you breathe in, you are essentially taking in increased moisture which in turn ensures that your throat stay moist and lubricated at all times.
Those without a humidifier may well opt for the more conventional steam inhalation option. This works on the concept that a dry throat secretes less mucus from the mucous membrane which lines the inner wall of the throat.
On the contrary, when a steam shower is taken or even when one uses the sink or a bowl to inhale steam, the throat continues to stay moist and the irritation of the nerve endings is less.
Milk and Turmeric
This is yet another option which helps to alleviate an itchy and scratchy throat. All that you would need to do is to boil a cup of milk and add a teaspoon of turmeric. The mix works best when it is cooled down before consumption.
Experts believe that when the mix is consumed at bedtime for several nights in a row, the results are encouraging. Ginger can further enhance the effect of the mix. People who find the mix bland may even add honey for sweetness.
Licorice Root Tea
Scratchy and itchy throat can be caused by a chronic inflammation of the throat. Licorice root is one option which is known to ease inflammation and reverses the itch. The mix is relatively easy to prepare:
Place a root of licorice in a mug and then pour hot water into the mug until it covers the root. Steep for 15 minutes and drink the beverage while hot. The mix is best consumed twice a day for better results.
Thyme has strong antimicrobial properties which helps to treat bacterial infection and inflammation of the throat.
Experts have opined that thyme can relax the muscles of the bronchi and the trachea. Thus, it is not surprising that thyme can open up the airways and minimize cough and the accompanying itch and scratchy sensations.
Take a few fresh thyme sprigs and place them in a mug. Cover it with eight ounces of boiling water. Steep it for 15 minutes before drinking it.. Add a touch of honey or lemon juice for better taste.
Honey and Pepper
Pepper is great for healing a scratchy throat. Nevertheless, pepper can be irritating at times, so it is best to neutralize it by adding some honey to the mix. In addition to being strongly antimicrobial, honey is known to neutralize the irritating effects of pepper.
Add a tablespoon of honey and a teaspoon of freshly ground pepper in a mug. Add boiling water to the mix and let it steep for ten to fifteen minutes. The mix is best consumed twice a day for optimal results.
Peppermint and Ginger
That typically scratchy and itchy tickle starts in the posterior portion of the throat and results in a cough. The sensation is best reversed by using a mix of peppermint and honey.
The mix is best prepared by adding a tablespoon of dried peppermint to three tablespoons of freshly chopped ginger. 4 cups of water are added to the mix and then brought to a state of boil and then allowed to simmer.
Add some honey to taste and consume the solution every few hours using not more than one tablespoon of the mix at a time.
These above mentioned remedies should sooth your throat quickly. The good news is that although the condition is relatively common, it is seldom serious. However, if your irritated throat lasts more than couple of weeks, symptoms are worsening or become severe, you may need to visit your doctor. A visit to the doctor is in order especially if you experience following symptoms:
- Difficult or painful swallowing
- Swollen glands or a lump in the throat
- Night sweats
- Unintended weight loss
- Chest pain
- Coughing up blood