Itchy Throat

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Definition

What is Itchy Throat?

Itchy throat is an itchy that orginates in the throat. It can be mild or severe. Itchy throat is often an allergic reaction. However, it can also be an early symptom of bacterial or viral infection.

How common is Itchy Throat?

Itchy throat is extremely common. It can occur in patients in any gender at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Which signs and symptoms can Itchy Throat usually be associated with?

Often, an itchy throat is not the only symptom that a person may be dealing with. Symptoms that occur along with an itchy throat vary with the underlying cause.

Itchy throats caused by allergic rhinitis may be accompanied by any combination of the following symptoms:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sinus pressure
  • Itchy eyes and skin
  • Sneezing
  • Tiredness
  • Swollen, red, or watery eyes

When caused by drug or food allergies, an itchy throat may occur together with any number of symptoms from mild to needing immediate emergency medical treatment.

The symptoms that can occur with an itchy throat due to drug and food allergies include:

  • A red itchy rash known as hives
  • Redness of the skin around the eyes
  • Itchy ears
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • A sense of doom
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness

It can be difficult to distinguish an itchy throat caused by allergic rhinitis from one caused by illness. In both instances, it may be accompanied by nasal congestion or sneezing.

However, if the itchy throat is caused by an acute illness, it will probably be short-lived and accompanied by a combination of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Swollen glands
  • Muscle aches
  • Weakness
  • A headache
  • A cough
  • Nasal congestion

When the itchy throat is caused by dehydration, other symptoms can include

  • Extreme thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Infrequent dark urine

If the itchy throat is caused by reflux or heartburn, other symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty or pain when swallowing
  • Burning sensation in chest or throat
  • Gas
  • Inflamed voice box
  • Worn down tooth enamel
  • Inflamed gums
  • A bad taste in the mouth

Causes

What causes Itchy Throat?

Irritated itchy throats can be caused by a wide variety of factors. Likely causes of an itchy throat include the following:

Allergic rhinitis

A common cause of itchy throat is allergic rhinitis, which is also known as hay fever.

Also known as hay fever, allergic rhinitis may be one of the most common causes of an itchy throat.

Allergic rhinitis happens when the body overreacts to an otherwise harmless substance, releasing a chemical called histamine that causes these overreactions.

Common triggers include pollen, dander, dust, and irritants such as cigarette smoke or exhaust fumes.

Food allergies

Allergic reactions to food happen when the body reacts to certain things we eat as if they were going to harm the body. Reactions generally develop within minutes or a few hours after consuming the trigger food.

The allergy may be mild with symptoms stopping with an itchy throat or mouth. However, they can be life-threatening.

Common trigger foods include peanuts, shellfish, eggs, milk, and wheat.

Drug allergies

Many people suffer from allergies to certain medications including penicillin and other antibiotics. The severity of the allergy will range from mild to life-threatening.

Symptoms of a drug allergy can include an itchy throat that starts shortly after taking a new medication.

Bacterial and viral infections

Strep throat or bacterial cases of tonsillitis may start with an itchy throat before progressing to a more severe sore throat.

Viruses such as the common cold or the flu virus can both cause an itchy throat.

If it is just a cold, the itchy throat is unlikely to progress past being mildly sore. If a person has a flu infection, their throat soreness will be more severe and accompanied by fever, body aches, and chest discomfort.

Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when the body loses more water than it takes in. It is common during hot weather, after exercise, or during illness.

Dehydration can cause a dry mouth, a temporary condition where the mouth and throat don’t have enough saliva. This may cause an itchy feeling in the throat.

Acid reflux

Also known as heartburn, some people with chronic acid reflux experience throat problems. Acid reflux happens when stomach acid backs up from the stomach into the food pipe.

An itchy or sore throat is unlikely to be the only symptom of reflux. However, some people have a condition called silent reflux and may only notice a chronic, itchy throat as a symptom.

Medication side effects

Some medications may cause dry coughs and itchy throats that are not due to allergic reactions.

People taking ACE inhibitors for high blood pressure should be aware that ACE inhibitors may cause an itchy throat and dry cough.

Most often, these symptoms begin shortly after starting an ACE inhibitor and are not accompanied by other symptoms commonly experienced with an itchy throat.

Conditions mentioned above are some common causes of itchy throat. Consult with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for Itchy Throat?

You are more likely to get itchy throat if you have one or more risk factors of the causes mentioned above.

Please consult with your doctor for further information.

When to see your doctor

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you or your loved one has itchy throat that is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

  • A severe sore throat
  • Fever
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Hives
  • Facial swelling

On noticing one of these symptoms or having any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor to get the best solutions for your situation.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage itchy throat?

These following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with itchy hroat:

  • Gargle with salt water
  • Eat a tablespoon of honey — preferably raw, local honey — in the morning
  • Sip hot ginger tea mixed with lemon and honey
  • Mix 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into 237 ml of hot water. Once cool enough to drink, sip it slowly.
  • Using over-the-counter allergy medications and nasal sprays can relieve an itchy throat caused by allergies. For the common cold, an over-the-counter cold medication can help.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor for the best solutions.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: December 12, 2018 | Last Modified: September 12, 2019

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