May 31, 2023
How to Get Rid of a Tickle in Your Throat
A tickle in your throat could indicate any one of several health problems — especially if it sticks around for a long time or causes you to cough repeatedly and uncontrollably. In many cases, a tickle in your throat will go away on its own, but if it doesn’t, you may need to see your doctor.
Here are different reasons you may have a tickle in your throat and how to request an appointment with Healthcare Associates of Texas if you are dealing with this medical problem.
What Causes a Tickle in Your Throat?
A tickling sensation in the throat usually occurs when the mucous membranes in your throat or esophagus become irritated. The irritation may be caused by something in the environment — such as cigarette smoke. It may also be caused by a medical condition that increases the amount of mucus in your throat or that is causing mucus to build up.
Common causes of a tickle in the throat include:
Smoking cigarettes or exposure to secondhand smoke can often tick your throat. Other environmental factors that can do this include vehicle exhaust, smoke from fire and toxic chemicals. Spending time outdoors when the air is cold and dry can also tickle your throat.
A sore throat usually occurs due to inflammation in the upper respiratory tract. Inflammation can irritate your throat and cause a tickling sensation. The tickling may get worse when you talk or swallow.
Laryngitis occurs when your voice box becomes swollen, irritated and inflamed. It is usually caused by a virus that affects the upper respiratory tract. Symptoms of laryngitis include fever, swollen glands in the neck and hoarseness, which can sometimes cause a tickling sensation in the throat.
One of the most common symptoms of a common cold is postnasal drip. This occurs when mucus runs down the back of your throat. Postnasal drip can tickle your throat and even make you cough repeatedly.
Chronic cough and postnasal drip are common symptoms of sinusitis, which is the inflammation of the sinuses. If you have sinusitis, the mucus that runs down the back of your throat will usually be thicker and more abundant than the mucus you have with a common cold. Coughing and a tickling sensation in the throat can be more severe with sinusitis for this very reason.
Allergens like dust, pet dander and pollen can irritate the lining of your nose. Allergies can also trigger a sore throat and postnasal drip that tickles the back of your throat. Insect bites, certain foods and some medications can also lead to an allergic reaction that causes a tickle in the throat.
Acid reflux occurs when the opening between your esophagus and stomach doesn’t close all the way. This can cause contents from your stomach to creep back up your throat to cause a tickling or burning sensation.
Acid reflux can occur when you overeat food or eat foods irritating the stomach. Spicy foods, fried foods and citrus fruits are all known to cause acid reflux.
A tickle in the throat can be a symptom of throat cancer. Throat cancer can cause inflammation that also triggers a sore throat and hoarseness.
How to Get Rid of a Tickle in Your Throat
If environmental factors like smoke or pollution are causing the tickling sensation in your throat, leaving the area and separating yourself from these factors can usually make the tickle go away. If a medical condition like laryngitis is causing the tickle in your throat, the tickling sensation will usually clear at the same time as your condition.
How to stop a tickle in your throat:
- Avoid known triggers. If you realize that secondhand smoke or allergens like dust are causing your throat to tickle, stay away from situations and places that expose you to those substances.
- Gargle with salt water. Saltwater can help reduce inflammation in the throat and rinse away extra mucus. Add about ½ teaspoon of salt to an 8-ounce glass of water, then gargle and spit out.
- Drink lots of water. Water can help flush toxins and bacteria out of your throat that may be causing an infection. Try drinking warm water or herbal teas to soothe your throat. Avoid beverages like alcohol or sodas that can increase inflammation and make your throat feel worse.
- Consume honey. Honey is a natural antibacterial agent that may help destroy bacteria, causing a sore throat or tickling sensation. Try eating a spoonful of honey or adding honey to a cup of hot herbal tea.
- Suck on cough drops. Cough drops made for sore throats may relieve your symptoms and make the tickle in your throat go away. You can also try hard candies if you want a non-medicated way to ease a throat tickle.
- Use a humidifier. If you think the tickle in your throat is caused by cold, dry air, try running a humidifier in your room. A humidifier adds moisture back into the air and can help relieve sore, tickling sensations in the throat.
- Take a hot shower. A hot shower can produce steam that clears your airways and reduces tickling in the throat. Using steam is particularly helpful if you have sinusitis.
- Try over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. The common cold or a sore throat can often be relieved using OTC medicines such as throat sprays or pain relievers.
- Get plenty of rest. Sleep and rest allow your body to recover and heal from illnesses that may be causing a tickle in your throat — including viruses. If the tickle in your throat sticks around, take it easy and get plenty of rest until you start feeling better.
When to See a Doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if you can’t stop coughing due to a tickle in the throat. Chronic coughing, along with a throat tickle, could mean you have sinusitis. Sinusitis can usually be treated using antibiotics or prescription nasal sprays.
You should also see a doctor if the tickle in your throat doesn’t go away or if you have other symptoms that could indicate a severe condition, such as throat cancer. Your doctor can perform an exam and run specific tests to see if you have a condition that requires treatment.
Request an appointment with our primary care practice at Healthcare Associates of Texas today if you are experiencing a tickle in your throat that won’t go away. We can review your medical history, perform an exam and get to the root cause to effectively treat your condition.
1.”Laryngitis: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.” 2015. Medlineplus.gov. 2015. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001385.htm.
2.CDC. 2021. “Suffering from a Sinus Infection?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. April 26, 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/antibiotic-use/sinus-infection.html.
3.”Head and Neck Cancers.” 2019. 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/headneck/index.htm.
4.Albaridi, Najla A. 2019. “Antibacterial Potency of Honey.” International Journal of Microbiology 2019 (June): 1–10. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/2464507.
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