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Dry Throat - Symptoms, Causes, Remedies, Treatment

Updated on August 21, 2014

What is a Dry throat?

A dry throat can be both a symptom and a medical condition. It is that scratchy, rough feeling in your throat that can sometime itch but you have no way to scratch it. It could be temporary or it could be chronic. It all depends on what the cause is if it is a medical condition and if it is a symptom, you need to find out what is causing it.

Symptoms

When a person has a dry throat it could go along with other symptoms which would depend on what is causing your dry throat. Many times the symptoms that affect your dry throat could also involve your other body systems.

Dry throat and respiratory infection symptoms

  • Having trouble breathing
  • Cough
  • Voice that is hoarse
  • White or pus patches that cover your throat or tonsils
  • Having a sore throat

Dry throat and digestive system symptoms

  • Vomiting
  • Having difficulty in swallowing
  • Heartburn

Various other symptoms that may happen with a dry throat

  • Your body aches
  • Vision that is double or blurred
  • Having difficulty swallowing
  • Structures in your throat or lymph nodes that are enlarged.
  • Fatigue
  • Chills and fever
  • Blood pressure is low
  • Weakness in your muscles
  • Dry lips and mouth
  • Bad breath
  • May have pain when eating
  • Your taste may be impaired

When you have trouble swallowing it is caused by the decrease in the formation of saliva. When it is a simple reason to have dry throat your symptoms will not be as many.

Causes

The most common cause is the mucus membranes in your throat have dried out which could be from sleeping with your mouth open, exercising, living in a dry environment, or breathing through your mouth.

There could be many other different causes of your dry throat. Some of them may include:

  • Not having enough water in your body is one of the main causes of having a dry mouth.
  • If the humidity is low in the environment this can also cause a dry throat and usually is found more during the winter months. With furnaces that are forced-air being on almost constantly during the winter months can remove the moisture from air.
  • If you have been singing, screaming, hollering, or talking too much could cause a dry throat.
  • Smoking excessively
  • Certain medications for particular health conditions can cause a dry mouth in the morning and could be a side effect of the medication.
  • Having laryngitis or tonsillitis
  • Cough, blocked nasal passages, or allergies.
  • Pollution in the air
  • A bacterial throat infection called strep throat
  • Excessive clearing of your throat
  • Vomiting excessively
  • A viral infection called mononucleosis
  • Using marijuana
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Sjogren’s syndrome - this is an autoimmune disease which can cause your exocrine glands to destroy or damage the moisture production in your salivary glands and can cause a dry throat.
  • Cancer of your salivary glands which are found in your neck, mouth, and throat. They are what provide fluids to keep these tissues moist.
  • Having heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  • Food poisoning

Primarily a dry throat is caused by some type of infection.

Treatment

The treatment that is needed for your dry throat depends on what is causing this symptom or condition. Before treatment can be done you should check with your physician to find out the cause so you can get the proper treatment.

Remedies

Many times to help with a dry throat you can get over-the-counter medications such as peppermint discs or some other hard candy to suck on. When you suck on hard candy or lozenges it will help to stimulate your salivary glands so you will produce more saliva, helping to moisturize your dry throat. If it is due to being dehydrated you need to drink a lot of fluids such as water, citrus juices, broths, drinks with electrolytes like Gatorade, etc. Make sure that you stay away from anything with caffeine because they can aggravate your dry throat and cause more dehydration. You need to make sure that you are drinking at least eight glasses of water during the day.

Depending on what is the cause for your dry throat some other remedies that you might use to help with your dry throat may include:

  • Using a room humidifier if the humidity level is below the recommended level. If you wake up in the morning with a dry throat you may want to keep one running in your bedroom. During the winter time when the furnace is running might also be a good time to use a humidifier. Using one will help keep the moisture in the air. You can use either a cool or warm mist vaporizer/humidifier.
  • Gargling with saltwater using lukewarm water is a very good way to help soothe your dry throat and the irritation it can cause. Just add a teaspoon or less of salt to a glass of warm water, stir, and gargle. You can do this several times during the day. You can also gargle with lukewarm water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar added. If there are bacteria in your throat causing the dryness, irritation, and itching, either of these two gargling recipes will help to kill the bacteria.
  • Make a drink of warm water, a teaspoon of honey, and a teaspoon of lemon. You can drink this mixture two times a day to help with your dry throat.
  • If you have a cough along with your dry throat you can use over-the-counter cough medicines or cough drops. If these do not help with the cough you may need to see your physician for a prescription cough medicine.
  • If your dry throat is the result of strep throat or tonsillitis your physician will prescribe an antibiotic to get rid of the infection.
  • Drinking herbal teas like chamomile, eucalyptus, sage, or licorice root.
  • Make a sugar elixir to help hydrate your dry throat by mixing in a glass of water, warm or cool, a teaspoon of salt, a tablespoon of sugar, and a half teaspoon of baking soda, mixing well. To give it more flavor you can add a little orange juice or lemon juice.
  • Swallow a teaspoon of honey because it can coat the membranes that line your throat.

You should also make sure that you are avoiding air pollution, chemical fumes, and tobacco smoke. If you have to work around chemicals wear a mask to help avoid inhaling the fumes.

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