A scratchy throat generally indicates the onset of a viral infection. Commonly observed in children, a scratchy throat causes slight discomfort while eating, drinking and talking. However, scratchy throat is not a serious condition and in most cases, medical treatment is not needed as the condition diminishes on its own within a few days.
Dryness and pain in the throat is the most common symptom of this condition. As scratchy throat occurs due to a virus attack, the person is also likely to experience symptoms that are related to the viral infection. For instance, if scratchy throat is the result of common cold or flu, then the person will also suffer from fever, coughing, runny nose, and sneezing.
As aforementioned, when viruses enter the body, they bring about a change in the form of a scratchy throat. A cough or a sneeze that releases harmful particles in the air can also cause a scratchy throat. Some of the most common reasons behind scratchy throat are given below:
Common Cold: A person affected with common cold is bound to experience a scratchy throat. Runny nose that accompanies a sinus infection can also cause a sore throat. This viral infection is one of main causes of dry, scratchy throat.
Flu: Scratchy throat is often regarded as a symptom of flu (influenza). This viral infection is a serious health problem as the virus invades the nose, throat and lungs. Initially, the flu causes scratchy throat and runny nose, but the infection gradually aggravates leading to dry cough and high fever. Antiviral drugs are often prescribed to treat this condition.
Loud Chatting: Engaging oneself in a high intensity workout without taking any break is strenuous to the muscles located in the arms and legs. Similarly, sometimes circumstances force us to conduct a conversation in a loud voice. The throat muscles have a hard time, when conversing loudly for substantial amount of time. Too much non-stop talk that is usually involved in giving a speech or a lecture can leave the throat dry and the muscles strained. This can eventually cause sore and scratchy throat.
Scratchy Throat Allergies: Some people are allergic to dust, microorganisms such as pollens, molds and pet danger. As a result, exposure to these allergens can be a great source of discomfort which generally manifests in the form of runny nose, scratchy throat, and red swollen eyes.
Dry Air: Persistent scratchy feeling in the throat can also be due to inhalation of dry air, which is common during winter. No wonder, throat problems such as sore throat often occur in the cold months of winter. Getting up in the morning with dry, scratchy throat is a common complaint in the winter season. The solution is to install a humidifier in the room as it adds moisture to the indoor air, which can help to reduce the symptoms of scratchy throat.
Air Pollution: The introduction of harmful gases and chemical in the environment leads to air pollution. This causes irritation to the throat that may worsen at night. Eventually, the throat also becomes scratchy and rough. Air pollution is one of the leading causes of scratchy throat in developed countries like United States.
Unhealthy Habits: Smoking is the primary contributor to throat infection which gives a scratchy feeling. Consuming too much alcohol or spicy foods can also cause a scratchy throat.
Scratchy Throat and Dry Cough
A scratchy throat and cough can make the person quite uncomfortable. A scratchy throat at night, usually accompanied by dry cough at night, can disturb a good night's sleep and cause a feeling of fatigue and tiredness. People with whooping cough may also suffer from scratchy throat. This could actually be an indication of a serious infection, and hence taking a doctor's advice is essential to diagnose the condition. Sometimes, people may also experience a stuffy nose that causes difficulty in breathing.
Harmful bacteria that attack the throat, by entering through the mouth or nose can also cause scratchy throat. For instance, tonsillitis (bacterial infection) and strep throat cause a scratchy feeling in the throat. A strep throat can cause a wide range of symptoms ranging from difficulty swallowing and swollen tonsils to headache and fever. A close examination of the throat may reveal that white patches have formed on the tonsils. Scratchy throat resulting from a bacterial infection may also not allow you to enjoy the correct taste of food.
Other factors that may trigger scratchy feeling in the throat include keeping the mouth open while sleeping, insufficient intake of water, and use of heaters during winters. Determining the underlying cause is the most important step in scratchy throat remedies. Once the cause is diagnosed, the doctor will decide proper treatment to cure the infection. During the course of treatment, increasing fluid intake and gargling with salt water will also help to ease the pain associated with scratchy throat.