Scratchy Throat and Cough

Scratchy throat with cough can be painful and irritating. But, the good news is with some home remedies you can soothe the throat and get rid of the infection.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: Apr 3, 2018
One can get scratchy/itchy sensation in the throat due to a minute allergy or due to a serious condition like tonsillitis. However, in most cases one can find relief by opting for simple remedies. Here are the possible causes behind cough and scratchy throat and easy home care measures to reduce the severity of the condition.
Possible Causes
Cold and Flu
Viral infections like cold and flu are very common. There is no cure for common cold; however, certain home remedies like warm liquids, steam, rest, etc. can provide relief. Often, one suffers from throat infections during such viral infections. But, some people tend to get a sore throat after the infection has passed away.
Strep Throat
This condition is caused by group A streptococcus bacteria. Some of the signs and symptoms of strep throat are itchy throat, throat pain, red and swollen tonsils, fever, headache, fatigue, etc. For treatment, the doctor might prescribe antibiotics like penicillin or amoxicillin. Certain OTC painkillers can help to cope with the pain and reduce the fever. Certain home remedies like gargling with salt-water, drinking lot of water, and taking rest can help.
It is possible that you might experience scratchy throat and cough mostly during night because a drop in temperature at night doesn't suit you. Certain conditions like low humidity, air pollution, and smoking; or irritants like pollens or dust can be a cause behind the throat irritation and cough. Hence, you need to figure out what you are allergic to, and avoid coming in contact with the allergen. You can take an OTC antihistamine for symptomatic relief.
GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease is another reason for sore throat. GERD is caused by the backward flow of stomach acid to the esophagus. Esophagus is connected to the mouth and hence might get irritated. Lifestyle changes like following a good diet and avoiding smoking can help to reduce the symptoms of GERD.
In tonsillitis, the tonsils (present at the back of the throat) become inflamed. One of the common symptoms of tonsillitis is sore throat. Other symptoms include difficulty in swallowing, fever, scratchy or throaty voice, and stiff neck. If tonsillitis is due to bacterial infection, the doctor will prescribe antibiotics. Apart from that, the doctor will also recommend some remedies like salt-water gargle, rest, lozenges, and drinking warm fluids.
Home Remedies
Salt and Warm Water Gargling
This remedy is very effective and is often suggested by doctors. This remedy is suitable for adults and children. Boil two glasses of water in which 4 tablespoons of salt has been added. Wait till the solution is lukewarm, and then gargle with it. Repeat this remedy twice a day - morning and evening. This remedy has no side effects, so you can gargle whenever you are troubled by cough and scratchy throat. This remedy works great for swollen tonsils too.
Cough Syrups
There are many cough syrups available OTC. However, take care when buying a cough syrup as some cough syrups can make you drowsy. If you want you could opt for non-drowsy cough syrups, too. If you are buying a cough syrup to treat dry cough in children, make sure that the label on the bottle says it is suitable for children. Use the cough syrup according to the instructions mentioned on the label. The normal dose of cough syrup is 2 spoons, twice a day.
Lemon-honey Tea
This is a very tasty and natural remedy for dry cough. Boil ¾ cup of water for two minutes. Add tea and boil for 2 more minutes. Strain it into a cup and add the juice of one lemon and a spoon of honey to it. Drink this preparation 3 - 4 times a day. Lemon is a good source of vitamin C, and combined with warm tea, your throat will heal faster. For children suffering from dry scratchy throat, give only half cup of lemon tea twice a day.
Honey & Pepper
This is another great remedy which instantly soothes the throat. Take a tablespoon of honey in a bowl and sprinkle some black pepper on it. With the help of the spoon swallow the mix slowly.
Garlic contains antibiotic and antifungal properties. Chew on 2 cloves of garlic in the morning and evening. However, the taste of garlic is extremely strong which makes it difficult to chew. So, when you chew garlic, take 1 spoon of honey along with it. But, be warned about the fact that eating garlic can make your breath smell.
If you are suffering from throat pain, take a painkiller like aspirin or ibuprofen. If you are suffering from coughing and scratchy throat problems at night, the painkiller will also aid in sleeping better.
Make some herbal tea using chamomile. You will find chamomile tea bags at any supermarket. So, boil water for a minute and then turn off the stove. Infuse a tea bag of chamomile for a minute. Pour the tea in a cup and keep sipping it slowly. Chamomile tea helps soothe the irritated throat and ease the pain. This tea is relaxing and you can have it before going to bed.
Marshmallow Leaf
This also makes an excellent throat infection remedy. You can find this leaf extract at most health stores. Marshmallow leaf can be taken in many forms to cure throat infections. You can take it in tincture, infusion or capsule form.
Coltsfoot reduces the urge to cough. Make a tea with 2 teaspoons of coltsfoot and 1 cup of water, and drink it 3 times a day for two consecutive days. Coltsfoot works as an expectorant, that is, it helps to spit out the cough. Avoid this remedy, if you are on low blood pressure medication or allergic to plants like chamomile.
Myrrh Gargle
Myrrh is antimicrobial and helps to soothe the mucous membranes. It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. Add half a teaspoon of Myrrh to 2 cups of water and gargle with this solution. After gargling, swallow it. You can repeat this 3 - 4 times a day, till you feel better. Myrrh gargle has a cleansing effect and helps in coughing up phlegm.
Important Tips
  • Whenever suffering from scratchy throat, make sure you drink plenty of fluids. Drink pineapple fruit juice blended with a piece of ginger root and drink 2 - 3 liters of plain water daily.
  • Also try to increase your intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps in healing cough faster. You can either eat vitamin C supplements or eat vitamin C-rich food.
  • Avoid eating any spicy, cold, or oily food. These foods will further aggravate the condition.
  • Along with the remedies given above, inhaling steam through your mouth will also provide you instant relief.
  • Carry some throat lozenges in your bag or purse when suffering from cough. They give quick but temporary relief. Lozenges are safe for children to use.
  • If you are experiencing extremely severe symptoms when suffering from cough and scratchy throat, like high fever, difficulty in swallowing, blood in saliva, headache, etc. immediately seek medical care.
Take a break from your school/work and get plenty of rest to heal faster. However, if you don't find relief with the above remedies within 2 weeks, consult a doctor.
This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.
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