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Scratchy Throat

What is a Scratchy Throat?

A scratchy throat is one condition that could be irritating or annoying to the sufferer in the sense that it may not progress into a full blown sore throat but still continues to be a burden to the sufferer. It is a common way to describe an itchy, irritated or an inflamed throat. Scratchy throat has been experienced by a lot of people many time in their lifetime and like mentioned earlier, it could just be a mild irritation that may not warrant seeing a doctor while at other times, it could progress fully into a full blown sore throat. If it remains at a mild level, it can last for just a few days except it becomes a sore throat which will take longer to heal. However, whatever the situation, it is important to note that a scratchy throat is a problem which can irritate and affect the so many things in your life like sleeping, eating and talking peacefully.

When it comes to scratchy throat, it is important to make unnecessary assumptions especially when they appear or develop suddenly because it could be an indication of something more serious about to happen. For example, a sudden development of a scratchy throat could be an indication or a symptom of an upper respiratory tract problem or a throat problem. The truth is that early diagnosis of those sudden scratchy throat development could prevent it from getting into a worse situation like pharyngitis. Unfortunately, most people do not take scratchy throat seriously because it looks like a common and simple ailment which does not require a medical attention until things get worse. In most cases, scratchy throat problems are managed at home through some simple home remedies and while that in its own is not a bad idea, it is important to see a doctor immediately when the condition keeps deteriorating or when other symptoms start appearing so that it can be managed properly.

Picture 1: Woman with a scratchy throat

Symptoms of Scratchy Throat

Note that a scratchy throat may not just be a symptom of an approaching cold, it might come from allergies, irritation and other sources. However, as soon as the source of your scratchy throat is identified, then the treatment can be done and this is can be more effective.

The symptoms of a scratchy throat include an itchy feeling or burning sensation at the back of your throat, tenderness along the neck and this would likely happen especially after eating or swallowing and in some cases, drinking as well.

Other possible symptoms that can manifest for scratchy throat problem includes:

  • Stomach Pain
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Fatigue
  • Mild fever
  • Runny nose
  • Rash
  • Hoarseness
  • Dry cough and sneezing

However, it is important to mention that the symptoms will vary from person to person and will also depend on the possibility of other health concern present in the sufferer. Whatever the case, the most important thing is to consult your doctor as soon as you feel these unusual manifestations of these symptoms.

Causes of Scratchy Throat

There are a lot of causes for scratchy throat and as said earlier, it will vary from people to people depending on their exposure to certain environment, health, status and other factors. However,the following are some of the major causes of scratchy throat.

Picture 2: Person with an itchy scratchy throat

Common Cold

This could be caused by a lot of viruses present in the system and at the end it leads to itchy throat. In fact, majority of the people will find that cold is accompanied with itchy throat and if this is the case, the likelihood of experiencing fatigue, dry cough, nausea and runny nose will remain on the high side. Naturally, common cold will last for few days but if the scratchy throat does not go away in that time frame, then it is important to consult your doctor.


The reality is that some allergies can actually trigger itchy throat. For example, there are some food allergies that have the potential of causing irritation and swelling of the throat. However, these allergies could be treated. Another thing that may not be an allergy is mild asthma which would normally cause an itchy throat because of the wheezing and coughing that comes with it.


One thing most people overlook often is the effect of dehydration on the throat. However, it is important to note that dehydration can actually induce or cause a dry throat which leads to itching. What dehydration actually does is to make the mucus lining the throat to become clogged with over production. When this mucus goes away, it causes the throat to become irritated and this is what leads to the itchiness of the throat. Things that could cause dehydration include caffeine for the is reason, it is expected that the intake of caffeine into the system is limited. Note that if the scratchy throat is caused by dehydration, it then means that taking in water will help alleviate or cause a relief to the itchiness.

Other causes

Other causes of scratchy throat include shouting or excessive talking, viral or bacterial tonsillitis, snoring, breathing through the mouth for a long time, smoke inhalation which includes cigarette smoking and postnasal drip. It has also been reported that acid reflux could also be responsible for itchy throat in some people but it is a rare occurrence.

How to Get Rid of a Scratchy Throat

A scratchy throat could be frustrating but may not be enough reason to see doctor if you are sure of the cause. Sometimes, even antibiotics may not even be necessary. However, if the itchy throat continues, it is advisable to see a doctor immediately. You can get rid of scratchy throat and this is not as complex as it looks.

Picture 3: Some of the home remedies you can use at home to get rid of scratchy throat

The following can help you get rid of it:


The good thing about honey is that it is a multipurpose and useful commodity because of what it does in the system. Honey contains the important vitamins plus the added advantage of boosting your immune system to fight infections. In fact, honey is said to do a better job than most cough syrup in the sense that it coats the throat better making it more effective. According to research, darker honeys are better due to the fact that their level of oxidants is high.

Salt Water

Another important way of getting rid of scratchy throat is by using salt water. It is important to note the importance of salt in the first place. Salt is capable of killing bacteria and this is the reason why it is used as a preservative by most people. According to some studies, salt water is capable of reducing pain and itchy throat because it can fight whatever virus or bacteria that is responsible for it.

Licorice Root

You can get rid of scratchy throat by using licorice root. This root has been known to treat infections for many years and it works well when it is mixed with water. Note that people who used licorice root when experiencing sore throat get relief faster than just taking in ordinary water.


The problem with garlic is that the probability of liking it is low due to its effects. However, it is a good ingredient to use when trying to get rid of your itchy throat. Note that it contains allicin which is known to kill bacteria and viruses due to its high antibiotic properties.

Home Remedies

There are many home remedies that can take care of scratchy throat problems. Some of these remedies are just so easy to do even though it is sometimes neglected or not taken serious. So if you are having an itchy throat, the following home remedies will be of help.

Moisten the Air

One of the main causes of scratchy throat is dryness. The reality is that a dry environment will contribute a lot in drying up your throat at faster pace. However, one way to go about this is by using a humidifier which is very necessary in countering the dryness of the air. What the humidifier does is to send water vapor that help to moisturize the air in such a way that minimizes the possibility of a scratchy throat. Note that a humidifier will be relevant in a closed room, therefore, you can use it when sleeping.

Keep your Voice and Throat at Rest

Your throat does not need to be stressed, therefore, it is advisable to rest at some point. One way to achieve this is by sleeping and this is because you may not need to eat or even speak when you are sleep hence affording you the much needed opportunity to rest your throat. If your scratchy throat is as a result of stress on your throat, then note that taking some few days of bed rest without shouting and minimal talking will sure fix things or prevent it from worsening.

Avoid Inhaling Irritants

For cigarette smokers, the itchy throat you experience may be as a result of smoking and if that is the case, it is time to call it quit. This is because smoking cigarettes has a way of worsening scratchy throat and this could also be a sign of another more serious problem. It is important to note that this whole problem is not just for smokers alone because people who do not smoke but live with someone who smoke who have the problem. Note that there are other inhaled irritants like air pollution, airborne dust among others. Just avoid them as much as possible.

Ensure Enough Body Hydration

To get rid of scratchy throat, it is expected that you keep your body hydrated. What adequate dehydration does is to ensure that your body produces enough saliva and less mucus so as to sustain the natural lubrication of your throat. Dehydration is bad in the sense that it causes the already painful situation to become worse.

See Your Doctor

There is no doubt that there are many home remedies for scratchy throat that you can do without seeing a doctor. However, note that there is a limit to what you can do at home. Naturally for some, these home remedies will get rid of the itchy throat while some others may just start exhibiting some other symptoms. The most important thing here is to know the limit of home remedies and see a doctor because it may actually be a symptom of a much more serious problem.

Is a Scratchy Throat Contagious?

Yes, scratchy throat could be contagious. It can be transmitted from one person to another by viruses and bacteria that are present in the infected person’s saliva, nasal discharge or mucus. In fact, it can be transmitted by just coming into contact with the substances listed above whether it is directly or indirectly. Others may contact it by touching items that are contaminated like toothbrush or even towels.

Also Read:

Causes of Food getting stuck in throat

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