A lot of people develop itchy throat often times when exposed to certain substances (triggers) in their environment or allergens that bring about unwanted responses. Depending on the area of their body affected, these responses are known as allergic reactions.
In this article, we will be looking into the causes of itchy throat, different allergens responsible for it, remedies for itchy throat and lastly how to prevent it.
First of all, it is important to note that an itchy throat is a highly common symptom. It can indicate hay fever and other allergies or may be an early sign of a viral or bacterial infection.
Inhaled irritants such as chemicals, cleaning products, tobacco smoke or vapour, pesticides etc. can aggravate your throat, causing it to feel scratchy and uncomfortable.
What causes an itchy throat?
Allergies are one of the most common causes of an itchy throat. An allergic reaction occurs when a substance called an allergen triggers an immune system response in your body.
Examples of common allergy triggers that can cause an itchy throat include:
- animal dander
- foods, such as peanut butter, dairy, or strawberries
- pollen, found in trees, grass, or ragweed
Allergies can range from mild to severe. An itchy throat can indicate a milder, yet uncomfortable, allergic reaction.
You can also develop itchy throat or sore throat through kissing. It is called the kissing disease and transmitted by a virus called Epstein barr virus
What causes itchy ears and throat?
Itchy ears and throat may just be caused by common cold but they are commonly caused by allergies. One of the most common allergies that people experience is allergic rhinitis, or as you probably know it, hay fever.
People with hay fever have an allergic reaction to pollen, dust mites or animal fur. It causes an itching sensation in the ears and an itchy throat and mouth.
Certain medications can cause allergies as well, and this may lead to an itching sensation in the ears and throat. You should speak with your doctor if you notice such on starting a new course of medication.
Ear infections are a very common cause of itching in the ear, especially during the early stages as the infection is first starting to develop.
Ear infections can be caused by a build-up of fluid in the inner ear or an excess of wax. You should see an ENT doctor (ear, nose and throat) for recommended treatment.
Wax and oil in the ear help to stop the skin from drying out, but a lot of people do not realize that they play an important role, so they clean it out too often.
If you clean your ears too much, you will remove all of the wax and oil and your ears will dry out, causing them to itch. Please take note of this!
Remedies for itchy throat
There are numerous home remedies for itchy throat, also known as sore throat. In this write up, we will only be discussing those commonly available and very easy to do. You can check for other home remedies and how to use them here.
Some of these home remedies include:
Honey, when mixed with tea or taking alone is usually a very good remedy for itchy throat. A study has shown that it is more effective at taming night time cough than most cough suppressants.
- Salt water
Gargling with warm salt water can help soothe an itchy throat and break down secretions. It’s also known to help kill bacteria in the throat. It should be done at a regular interval.
- Chamomile tea
Chamomile tea is naturally soothing. It has long been used for medicinal purposes, like soothing an itchy throat. It’s often used for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and astringent properties. See study reviews on Chamomile tea
Peppermint is known for its ability to freshen breath. Diluted peppermint oil sprays may also relieve itchy throats. It contains menthol, which helps thin mucus and calm sore throats and coughs.
Peppermint also has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, which may encourage healing.
- Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has many natural antibacterial uses. Numerous studies show its antimicrobial uses in fighting infections. Because of its acidic nature, it can be used to help break down mucus in the throat and stop bacteria from spreading.
Garlic also has natural antibacterial properties. It contains allicin, an organosulfer compound known for its ability to fight off infections. Studies have shown that taking a garlic supplement on a regular basis can help prevent the common cold virus.
Over The Counter Medications
Please note that when natural remedies just aren’t cutting it, there are several over-the-counter treatment options. Acetaminophen (Paracetamol) can be effective for sore throat, and it can be given to young children.
Also, there are other OTC (over the counter) medications that might be really helpful in resolving your throat. They are commonly known as antihistamines.
How to Prevent Itchy Throat at Night
Your body’s natural reaction may be responsible for your frequent itchy throat at night. Aside that, dry or itching throat can be caused by caffeine and alcohol consumption, smoking, allergies, acid reflux, certain medications, and other medical conditions.
So, how do you prevent itchy throat at night? Here, are some of the ways to do so:
- Keep your throat hydrated
Drinking plenty of fluids each day is one way to prevent itchy throat. You should drink at least 8-10 cups of water daily. Always keep a bottle of water at your bedside too.
- Sleep on incline
Add some extra pillows under your head and let gravity do its job naturally. This adjustment particularly helps in clearing the mucus, which drips down the back of your throat.
- Saltwater gargle
Gargling with salt water can help because salt can help draw moisture from surrounding tissue, which in turn can lubricate your throat.
You can check other ways to prevent itchy throat here.
When to see your doctor
If you develop dry throat and feel that you are not improving with adequate hydration and avoidance of alcohol and caffeine and smoking, you should consult your physician/ pharmacist. In some cases, it can also be caused by strep throat, mononucleosis or tonsillitis.