Scratchy Throat

A scratchy throat is an indicator that there is something wrong in your body. Most of the time, it is a sign that you will have a cold. It could be caused by allergy, a strained vocal cord, or an infection of the throat.

A scratchy throat should not be taken for granted. Immediate treatment should be given before it turns out to something dangerous and difficult to treat. (2, 3)

The urgency of treating scratchy throat

Scratchy throat allergies and scratchy throat dry cough are signs of upper respiratory problem. It is a must to pay particular attention to a scratchy throat that appears suddenly to prevent its progression into intense condition and to at least minimize the severity of the condition.

However, many people take for granted a scratchy throat because to them it seems like a minor ailment. True enough, it can be treated at home provided it is in its early stage. Severe cases warrant medical professional’s help. (1, 4, 5)

A closer look on a patient’s throat who is suffering from scratchy

Image 1: A closer look on a patient’s throat who is suffering from scratchy throat.
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Salt water,saline gargle, one of the home remedies for scratchy throat.image

Photo 2: Salt water/saline gargle, one of the home remedies for scratchy throat.
Photo Source:

What are the causes of scratchy throat?

  • Flu/common cold (influenza)
  • Pharyngitis (inflammation of the pharynx)
  • Laryngitis (inflammation of the larynx)
  • Allergy
  • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) (5)
  • Postnasal drip
  • Prolonged mouth breathing
  • Excessive talking or yelling (4)

PND or postnasal drip is usually the cause of a scratchy throat. What is postnasal drip? Healthy sinuses produce a small amount of clear, thin mucus every day. What it does is it cleanses warms, and humidifies the air before it enters the lungs.

On a normal circumstances, you swallow the mucus without even noticing it. However, if there is irritation or infection, the thicken mucus irritates the throat. There are other circumstances leading to postnasal drip such as upper respiratory tract infection, common cold, and flu. The next thing you notice you are already suffering from a scratchy throat and cough. (6, 7)

Itchy Throat Remedies

How to treat throat allergy symptoms? What are the best sore throat allergies remedies? Treating a scratchy throat may sound easy, but nothing won’t work unless you target the root cause of the problem. From a professional medical standpoint, you need to use a combination of anti-inflammatory medications, antihistamines, and antibiotics, especially if there is an existing infection. (7)

The usual home remedy for scratchy throat include the following:

  • Lozenges – Medicated and non-medicated lozenges can be easily purchased over the counter. They are helpful in alleviating the symptoms of scratchy throat. Medicated lozenges are effective in treating scratchy throat secondary to infection. On the other hand, non-medicated lozenges increase the production of saliva which in turn soothes scratchy throat. However, lozenges, be it medicated or non-medicated only offer temporary relief. It is not also recommended for toddlers as it increases the possibility of choking. (9)
  • Salt water/saline water gargle – A saltwater gargle is effective in the treatment of scratchy throat secondary to postnasal helps loosen the mucus in the throat and at the same time has a slight antibacterial action. To create your very own salt water gargle, simply add a teaspoon of salt to a glass of lukewarm water. Gargle the solution three times a day.
  • Increase fluid intake – Water plays a very important role in the body. It keeps the body hydrated and makes it free from various forms of illnesses. Water provides a temporary relief for scratchy throat. It moisturizes the throat and reduces the inflammation. If you are experiencing a scratchy throat, it is helpful to increase your fluid intake, especially water. However, you should avoid drinking large volume of water all at once. The ideal way is to take small sips on a regular basis. (3, 8)
  • Rest your voice – A scratchy throat is an indicator that your throat is under a great deal of stress. To ease the stress on the throat, you should keep it rested. There are many ways to rest your voice such as avoiding talking too much, getting enough sleep, and minimizing your eating habit. Eating and talking a lot can irritate your throat. If you feel the urge to eat, simply eat in small bite and eat only soft foods. If the infection is severe, the patient is strongly advised to take at least two days bed rest with minimal talking. (10)

Essential oils for scratchy throat

Some essential oils are helpful in the treatment of a scratchy throat. These essential oils help in alleviating the symptoms, strengthening the immune response of the body, and boost the overall well-being of the patient.

  • Essential oil that boosts the natural defense mechanism of the body includes citrus oil. Mountain savory oil, clove oil, thyme oil, and lime oil. They support the body’s natural defense against infection, boost the patient’s mood especially during winter days, revitalizes and stimulates the body, helps the body to cope with stress, and helps in cleansing the body.
  • Essential oil that supports respiratory health – A perfect example of essential oil that boosts respiratory health is the peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil. Apply these oil to the throat and chest and you will notice a comforting effect. They create a soothing aroma that eases tension and stress. They work in synergy to improve the function of the respiratory system. (4, 5, 10)
  • Essential oil that promotes a goodnight sleep – A lavender oil helps promote a goodnight sleep. If you are suffering from a scratchy throat, your sleep is disturbed. You can’t sleep soundly at night because the itchy throat keeps bothering you. In severe cases, you will not only experience scratchy throat but also clogged nose and headache. If this is the case, you will surely have a hard time sleeping at night. To somehow improve your sleeping pattern, make sure you take a warm bath before going to bed. This helps set you in the mood for sleep. To further improve the sleeping pattern, you should spray lavender oil on your pillow. A lavender oil has a calming, soothing, and relaxing effect. It will help you achieve a goodnight sleep. The next morning when you wake up, you will feel better. (2, 6, 8, 10)



Published by Dr. Jackie Te RN, MD under Diseases and Conditions.
Article was last reviewed on January 12th, 2022.

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