What Causes Dry Throat, and How Is It Treated?
If you have a dry throat, then it could be caused by a head cold, dehydration (if you’re not drinking enough water), or sleeping with your mouth wide open. However, see a doctor if your symptoms persist for more than one week.
Should I be concerned?
Dry, scratchy throats are usually signs of something minor, like a dry environment or a head cold.
If you’re looking at your other symptoms, they can help you figure out why your throat is so dry, and if you need to see a doctor. Read on for more details.
Dryness in your throat could simply mean that you haven’t been drinking enough water. If you’re dehydrated, your body won’t produce as much saliva, which usually moisturizes your mouth and throat.
Dehydration can also cause:
- dry mouth
- increased thirst
- dark urine, and less urine then usual.
Drink enough water throughout the day. It varies, but a good average would be 15.5 cups of liquid for men and 11.6 cups for women.
Adults consume an average of 2.7L of fluid per day (27–36%) from beverages including fruit juices, milk, coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, and alcoholic beverages. Water intake varies by age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, physical activity level, and body size.
Drink plenty of water or sports drinks to stay properly hydrated. Avoid caffeine, which can dehydrate you.
3. Eating too much sugar
If you wake up each day with a dry mouth, then the most likely cause of your dry mouth may be that you sleep with an open mouth. Air drying out the saliva that normally keeps the inside of your mouth moist.
Breathing through the mouth can also cause:
- bad breath
- daytime fatigue
Snoring could be caused by an obstruction in your airway during sleep.
A cold or chronic allergy, or a problem with the nasal passages like a deviated septum, can cause congestion in the throat and lungs, which may result in mouth breathing.
To help relieve nasal congestion, use an adhesive strip to hold your nostrils open when you’re sleeping.
If you’re diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), your doctor may recommend an oral appliance that positions your jaw properly or CPAP therapy to help keep air flowing into your lungs throughout the night.
3. Hay fever or allergies
Hay fever, also known as seasonal allergies, is caused when your body reacts too strongly to naturally occurring substances in your environment.
Common allergy triggers include:
- pet dander
- dust mites
Histamine is released by your body when it detects an antigen (a substance that causes an allergic reaction).
This can cause symptoms like:
- stuffed, runny nose
- Itching eyes, mouth, or body
If congestion in your nose makes you breathe through your mouth (which causes your throat to get drier), then the extra mucus dripping from your nose can cause your throat to become sore.
If you want to prevent allergic reactions from occurring, avoid your triggers as often as possible. You might consider doing things like avoiding certain foods, wearing gloves when working outdoors, and using an air purifier
- During the peak of the pollen count, stay inside with the windows closed and turn up the air conditioner.
- Cover your mattress with dust mite-proof sheets.
- Wash your sheets and blankets at least once per week in hot water.
- Clean your carpet and vacuum your floor to remove dust mites from your house.
- Get rid of any mold in your house by cleaning it up.
- Don’t let cats sleep in your bed.
You can also treat allergies by using these treatments:
- allergy shots
- eye allergy drops
Buy antihistamines, decongestants, and eye allergy drops online.
Common colds are usually caused by many different types of viruses. They can cause your throat to feel dry and scratchy
You may experience some of these symptoms too:
- body aches
- mild fever
Cold symptoms usually last for several days. Antibiotics don’t help because they only kill bacteria; they cannot cure viral infections.
If you want to feel better when your body recovers from the flu, here are some things you can do:
- If you feel sick, take Tylenol or Advil for relief.
- Suck on a throat lozenge.
- Warm liquids, such as broth or hot tea, help flush out toxins from the body.
- Gently gargle with a mixture of hot water and one half teaspoon of salt.
- To help clear up a stuffy nose, use a decongestant spray.
- Keep drinking water to stay hydrated.
- Get plenty of rest.
- To keep your room from drying out, turn on a humidifier.
A virus causes the flu. However, unlike a cold, which usually lasts for two weeks, the flu tends to last longer.
A sore, scratchy throat could be accompanied by symptoms including:
- stuffy, runny nose
- muscle aches
- vomiting and diarrhea
Flu can cause serious health issues, especially for young children, older adults and people with weak immune systems.
Flu complications include:
- sinus infections
- ear infections
- Asthma attacks in people who already suffer from asthma
Antiviral drugs may help prevent or treat influenza infections. However, they must be taken within 48 hours of symptom onset.
If you’re sick, here are some ways to help relieve your sore throat and coughs.
- Take time off from work until your symptoms improve.
- Suck on a piece of gum.
- Mix together equal parts of hot water and table salt. Then gargle with this solution for 20 seconds.
- If you’re taking an OTC medication for fever and body aches, take it before bedtime so it has time to kick in.
- Drink warm fluids, including tea and broth.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD
GERD is a condition where acid backs up from your stomach into the esophagus. It’s called acid reflux.
If acid burns the lining of your stomach, it causes symptoms like heartburn, indigestion, nausea, vomiting,
- a burning sensation in your chest, known as heartburn
- trouble swallowing
- dry cough
- burping up sour liquid
- hoarse voice
If the acid reaches the back of your throat, it could cause severe pain or even burn.
GERD is treated with:
- Antacid medications, such as Maaloxin, Mylantas, and Rolaid, to neutralize stomach acid
- H2 inhibitors, including Tagamet HB and Pepcid AC, help reduce stomach acid production.
- PPIs, including lansoprazole and omeprazole, which block acid production by inhibiting H+/K+ ATPase pumps.
Buy antacids now.
If you want to treat acid reflux, here are some lifestyle changes you could try.
- Keep a healthy weight. Excess weight puts pressure on your digestive system, causing more acid to rise up into your esophageal tract.
- Loose-fitting clothing is best for weight loss because they don’t constrict your waist.
- Instead of eating one large meal every day, eat several smaller meals throughout the day.
- To avoid acid reflux, raise the head of your bed when you’re sleeping.
- If you smoke, quit. Smokers’ valves keep their stomachs acidic.
- Try not to eat anything that could cause heartburn, including spices, alcohol, coffee, chocolate, mint, or garlic.
7. Strep throat
A strep throat is an inflammation of the back of the throat. It usually causes a sore throat, but it can cause a dry one, too.
Other symptoms of streptococcal pharyngitis (strep throat
- red and swollen tonsils
- white patches on your tonsils
- swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- nausea and vomiting
Antibiotics are used to treat strep throat. You should see improvement in your sore throat within 2 days after starting treatment.
Make sure you finish taking the entire course of antibiotics your doctor prescribed for you. If you stop before completing the whole course, you may be left with some bacteria in your system that could cause another infection.
If you’re experiencing pain, take an over-the- counter pain reliever, like aspirin (Ibuprofen) or Tylenol. You can also gargling with warm water and salt, and sucking on throat lozenges if needed.
Tonsillitis occurs when the tonsils become infected by either viruses or bacteria.
Symptoms of tonsillitis can include:
- red, swollen tonsils
- White patches on the tonsils are usually caused by strep
Antibiotics may be prescribed for bacterial tonsillitis if they’re needed. However, viral tonsillitis usually improves without treatment.
Here are some things that you can do to help yourself feel better during recovery from an injury:
- Try drinking lots of warm liquids, like hot tea and broths. They’re soothing for sore throats.
- You could gargle with a mixture of hot water and one half teaspoon of salt several times a day.
- If you feel any discomfort, take an OTC pain reliever like Tylenol or Advil.
- Add a cool-mist humidifer to your room to increase humidity levels. Dry air can make your throat feel worse.
- Suck on throat lozenges.
- Take a break from working out until you feel better.
Mono is a viral infection that spreads from person to person through droplets of infected saliva. One of its hallmarks is a sore throat.
Other symptoms include:
- swollen lymph nodes in your neck and armpits
- swollen tonsils
Antibiotics aren’t going to cure mono. However, there are ways to ease symptoms and get back to normal faster.
- Sleep well so you can get enough rest to help your body fight off the virus.
- To stay hydrated, drink extra fluids.
- If you’re having trouble sleeping because of a cold, take over-the-counter medications like Tylenol or Advil to help ease your symptoms.
- Gargling with warm salt water may help ease throat pain.
10. Overuse of voice
Using your voice too often, like shouting at a rock concert, can irritate your vocal cords. It can also lead you to develop laryngitis.
Other symptoms includeTrusted Source:
- weak or lost voice
- raw or sore throat
You may be able to get rid of viral laryngitis on its own — usually by the end of the second week. Here are some things you can do to help yourself feel better:
- Rest your voice.
- Drink extra fluids, particularly hot drinks such as tea or broth.
- To treat a sore throat, take over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
If you’re not sure when to see your doctor, ask
If your symptoms don’t improve after one week, call your doctor. He/she can diagnose you and help you develop a care plan.
If you experience more severe symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, blood in stools, fever, and weight loss, you should seek medical attention immediately.
- A severe sore throat that makes swallowing difficult.
- shortness of breath, wheezing
- chest pain
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- loud snoring at night
- Fever above 101°F (38 °C).
The bottom line
If you feel a sore throat coming on, drink some warm fluids (broth or hot tea) and suck on some throat lozenges. You may need to see a doctor if your symptoms don’t improve within a week.