Continue Learning About Throat Disorders
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
Itchy Throat Is A Common Symptom Of Allergies
An itchy throat can be caused by allergies. Allergies occur when your body mistakenly thinks something is foreign and tries to fight it off. Allergens can be environmental or food .
You have an allergic reaction when exposed to your specific allergen or one with a similar protein structure. Sometimes, an itchy throat from allergies is caused by a postnasal drip. Other times, it is a sign of oral allergy syndrome. An itchy throat can also be an early sign of a life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.
This article discusses itchy throat allergies and what causes an itchy throat. It also details the differences between an allergy-related itchy throat and COVID symptoms.
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Allergic Rhinitis And An Itchy Throat
The mucous membranes that line the inside of the nose normally work as a filter to stop any harmful particles from entering the body. However, when the body comes into contact with allergens like dust mites or mould spores, the immune system releases histamine and this system in the nose begins to work less effectively.
Thats because histamine can cause swelling in areas all over the body, including in the nasal passages. Therefore, not only does this mean that the mucous membranes cant filter air as effectively as normal, it also restricts air flow through the nasal passages and as a result, congestion can become problematic.
So, with the nose unable to filter air you become reliant on the mouth to breathe which unfortunately means that allergens have direct access to your body. They land at the back of the throat and irritate the sensitive tissues there.
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How To Avoid Allergens
Keeping out of the way of allergens may again help to alleviate your symptoms. However, this can be a difficult task so to help you out, here are a few tips.
Animal dander when you have pets regular cleaning and pet-free zones within your home will help your to avoid animal dander.
Dust mites a dehumidifier makes conditions less favourable for dust mites so investing in one of these could help you stay clear of this allergen.
Mould spores in order to keep clear of mould its important to prevent it from building up in your home in the first. To do this you should regularly open windows and doors in your home to ensure fresh air circulates.
Pollen to avoid pollen you should stay indoors when counts are high and venture out when levels are lower. You can keep an eye on your local pollen count through our website.
Cold Or Tonsil Infection
Some respiratory infections, like a tonsil infection, pharyngitis or a cold, can leave your throat itchy before developing into more serious symptoms, like pain and local inflammation. Other symptoms may include runny nose, coughing, fever, ear itching, chills and discomfort.
What to do: Treatment will depend on the type of infection that is present. For a bacterial pharyngitis or tonsil infection, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics like amoxicillin, erythromycin or penicillin, as well as analgesics or anti-inflammatories to help with the pain and inflammation, like acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Treatment of a flu or viral pharyngitis is aimed at managing symptoms like inflammation, pain and fever with analgesics, anti-inflammatories and antipyretics, like acetaminophen, ibuprofen and naproxen.
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Allergies Follow A Pattern And Symptoms Tend To Stick Around Longer
If you have allergies, your symptoms will flare up at certain times throughout the year when the allergens youre sensitive to are present. For example, if you have a tree pollen allergy, your symptoms will first appear in the early spring.
This also means that your symptoms can last for several weeks until that particular allergy season has ended. To put that into perspective, colds usually only last about a week.
Cold viruses are present all year, so you can catch one at any time. However, the winter cold season is when getting sick is more likely.
Gargling With Warm Salt Water
Warm salt water always is the best remedy for lubricating the throat and getting rid of itchiness. As soon as you gargle with warm salt water you might feel the warmness and soothing feeling in your throat. Itchiness and dryness comes together as a cough. Gargling with warm salt water twice a day prevents the itchiness and thus the dry cough. Mix a teaspoonful of salt in a glass of warm water and gargle twice a day. As soon as you wake up and just before you sleep.
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How To Get Rid Of Itchy Throat
There are hundreds of home remedies that claim to treat an itchy throat. Do a quick Google search, and youll find everything from saltwater gargles to drinking warm water to gargling with apple cider vinegar. Youll even find suggestions to use turmeric, herbal tea, menthol, and anti-inflammatory over-the-counter lozenges. While these can mask symptoms, most dont do anything to address the root cause especially if the issue is caused by dehydration.
So when youre trying to figure out how to get rid of an itchy throat, the best way is to find the underlying cause.
So What Do You Do About This
It is very important to distinguish OAS from a true food allergy that requires epinephrine. You should see your allergy provider if:
- Your OAS symptoms are causing significant throat discomfort
- Your OAS symptoms are getting progressively worse
- Your OAS symptoms are caused by cooked fruits and vegetables
- Your OAS symptoms are caused by nuts
- You have ANY other symptoms other than an itchy throat after eating raw fruits or vegetables, such as facial swelling, hives, vomiting or difficulty breathing.
If you have symptoms of OAS, you can avoid eating these raw foods, especially during allergy seasons. You can also bake or microwave the food to weaken the proteins, or eat the canned version of the food. Also, peeling the food before eating may be helpful, as the offending protein is often concentrated in the skin of the fruit/vegetable. Allergy shots can also improve the symptoms of OAS, since allergy shots change your immune system to make you less allergic to pollen. Allergy shots are a great treatment option if youre tired of feeling itchy after your favorite fruit or veggie!
Examples of possible oral allergy relationships are:
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What Not To Do For Itchy Throat
These are the things you need to keep in mind when you have an itchy throat:
- If you have an itchy throat due to allergies to pollens or dust, do not forget to wear your mask while going out. Avoid going out during spring and fall as these seasons bring along pollen in the air.
- Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol or caffeine as they tend to dry your throat thus exaggerating the itchiness in the throat.
- Clean any damp area in your house and surroundings or else it may result in mould spores.
- People allergic to dust must wash their bedsheets and other beddings weekly in hot water to avoid dust mites.
- Quit smoking. If you can’t give it up altogether, then at least stop smoking while you have an itchy throat.
- Avoid spicy and oily food when you have an itchy throat.
- People with gastroesophageal reflux disease must avoid fatty and oily food to prevent regurgitation of stomach acid, which can also cause an itch in the throat. GERD and acid refluxespecially when the stomach acid reaches the larynx and pharynx, or voice box and throat, is among the top causes of dry cough worldwide. And dry cough, as we know, can increase the itchiness in the throat.
Itchy Throat Remedies And Treatments
The goal of treating an itchy throat is to reduce discomfort, irritation, and painful feelings in the affected area until the condition heals. Remedies for itchy and sore throats focus on decreasing inflammation and irritation of the throat, as well as secondary symptoms like coughing.
Cough Drops, Lozenges, and Hard Candy
Many people use cough drops to help relieve throat itchiness or soreness. However, cough drops containing menthol may make your throat itchier in the long run. One study found that regularly consuming too many mentholated cough drops can make coughing more frequent.
Consider taking sweet hard candies to lengthen the time between cough drop or lozenge doses. This will allow you to benefit from oral menthol use without going overboard. Sweet candies can also help ease and itchy throat because it increases saliva production, which hydrates the affected area. A study also shows that a sweet taste can help suppress coughing.
While hot tea with honey is often used as a cough suppressant and a way to relieve a sore throat, plain honey can be effective, as well. Two teaspoons of honey may be as effective as certain types of cough medicines at relieving throat irritation and coughing. However, honey can occasionally lead to botulism â a type of illness caused by food poisoning â in children under the age of one year, so never give it to babies.
Ice Chips, Popsicles, and Cold Drinks
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Risk Factors For Allergies
Allergies are more common in children, but symptoms may improve as they get older.
Some underlying health conditions, such as asthma, could make symptoms worse or increase the risk of developing an allergy.
If a persons family member has allergies, they may share similar genes and develop the allergy themselves.
An allergist is a doctor who specializes in allergies. They can give advice on managing and treating allergy symptoms, such as an itchy throat or ears.
Some people can manage a mild allergy by taking OTC medication and minimizing contact with allergens.
However, the ACAAI recommend seeing an allergist if:
- allergies disrupt daily life
- a person has difficulty breathing
- a person has lasting or repeat sinus infections
- antihistamines are not effective or cause side effects
Before seeing an allergist, a person should make a note of their symptoms and how long they have lasted.
When Should You See A Doctor About An Itchy Throat
Of course, theres always the possibility an itchy or sore throat can be a sign of something more serious, such as the flu or even Covid-19. If youre experiencing other mild symptoms such as a runny nose, cough or headache, it certainly wouldnt hurt to do an at-home rapid Covid test, or visit a local testing site.
According to Dr. Singh, if you experience an itchy or sore throat with any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention:
- Swollen tonsils
- White patches on tonsils
Your healthcare professional will work with you to determine what type of testing is needed, a throat swab to check for bacterial infections such as strep or viral infections such as COVID, he says. In some instances, based on the severity of the symptoms as well as the overall clinical presentation, imaging tests such as X-rays and CT scans may be indicated.
The bottom line: Use your judgment to determine if youre dealing with the mild nuisance of an itchy or scratchy throat, or if youre experiencing other symptoms that could indicate something more serious. Even if its just a cold, stay home and isolate if you think you may be contagious, and see a doctor if you experience severe symptoms as described above.
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Allergy Symptoms Vs Covid
Some allergy symptoms are similar to COVID-19 however, there are also some key differences to keep in mind. Itâs also important to note that symptoms canvary.
Is Itchy throat a sign of coronavirus? Review the below symptoms to find out.
Seasonal allergy symptoms often include:
- Watery or itchy eyes
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste and/or smell
- Body aches or chills
- Sore throat
Fever, dry cough, loss of taste or smell, body aches or chills, and shortness of breath are more of a reason to be concerned, as these are common COVID-19 symptoms.
So, is itchy throat a sign of coronavirus? The answer is probably not. Itâs rarely asymptom and occurs most often in people with seasonal allergies.
How To Tell If Allergic Rhinitis Is Causing Itchy Throat
There are, of course, many things that can cause an itchy throat but, when its the result of allergic rhinitis, here are a few distinctive things about the issue.
Frequency – if an itchy throat is a regular problem for you, it may indicate that allergic rhinitis is the cause.
Other symptoms an itchy throat thats the result of allergic rhinitis is usually accompanied by other troublesome symptoms such as congestion, watery eyes and sneezing.
When pollen is the biggest causes of allergic rhinitis so if your symptoms get worse in the spring and summer months when plants begin to pollinate, this could once again indicate allergic rhinitis is the problem.
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Allergies Rarely Cause Sore Throats Or Body Aches
The only ache you may feel with allergies is a headache from all that congestion. Allergies can cause a sore throat if theres enough irritation from post-nasal drip and coughing, but if youre experiencing a sore throat or mild body aches, theyre more likely a sign of a bad cold.
Can allergies cause chills? No. If you have chills, its more likely you have a cold, the flu or another infection .
Should I Be Concerned
Itchiness that affects the throat and ears can be a sign of a few different conditions, including allergies and the common cold.
These symptoms are usually no cause for concern, and you can often treat them at home. However, some symptoms that go along with an itchy throat and itchy ears indicate a more serious condition.
Here are some possible causes, tips for relief, and signals that you should call your doctor.
Allergic rhinitis is better known by its other name: hay fever. It starts when your immune system reacts to something in the environment that isnt normally harmful.
To relieve the itch, try an oral or a cream antihistamine. Oral antihistamines are more common, but the same brands often offer topical formulas.
For lingering or more severe symptoms, call your doctor.
Heres a rundown of treatments by condition.
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Start With Some Home Remedies For Cold And Allergy Symptoms
When you start feeling icky, some simple home remedies can provide temporary relief. For starters, try to get more rest. Both allergies and colds can cause tiredness, so listen to your body and take it easy.
Also, take advantage of saltwater to soothe irritated nasal passages and scratchy or sore throats.
For your nose, use a neti pot. A neti pot can be picked up at any local drugstore or online, and typically comes with packets to mix with warm, distilled water to create a saltwater solution to pour through your nasal passages.
For your throat, simply mix a quarter or half teaspoon of table salt into an 8-ounce glass of warm water. Take a sip and gargle for a few seconds like you would with mouthwash. Then spit and repeat until the solution is gone. You can do this a couple times a day.
Talk With A Doctor Or Clinician To Create A Personalized Treatment Plan
If you arent sure if its a cold or allergies, or if your symptoms are severe or long-lasting, its best to connect with a care provider to get an official diagnosis and treatment plan.
If your allergy symptoms are left untreated, you could become more prone to getting sinus infections or other upper respiratory infections, or they may lead to poor asthma control.
Also, a common cold can turn severe. So if your cold has had you laid up longer than a day or two, get in touch with your doctor.
You have a couple options:
Make an appointment for face-to-face care from a primary care doctor or clinician. Whether you choose a video visit or in-person appointment, your doctor will listen to your symptoms, answer questions and work with you to create a tailored treatment plan including connecting you with an allergist or an otolaryngologist if needed.
Start a virtual visit anytime, anyplace through Virtuwell. With Virtuwell, no appointment is necessary and treatment is available 24/7. Getting started is easy. Well ask you a few questions, and youll get your diagnosis and treatment plan from a board-certified nurse practitioner. Each visit is just $59 or less, depending on your insurance.
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Is Itchy Throat A Sign Of Coronavirus
The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked worldwide fear, causing some people to worry even when they are only suffering from seasonal allergies. Did you wake up one morning with a tickle in your throat and wondered: is itchy throat a sign of coronavirus? Continue reading to learn whether itâs just the seasonal sniffles or coronavirus.