Dry throat

Dr. Nabi Darya Vali (AIIMS)MBBS

October 10, 2020

June 04, 2022

Dry throat
Dry throat

Dry throat may be a symptom of an underlying disease rather than a disease in itself. A dry throat can get uncomfortable or painful and can present with other symptoms such as difficulty in swallowing, coughing, body aches, heartburn and vomiting.

A dry throat is more common during winters but it can also occur due to various other factors. A mouth breather at night (someone who breathes through their mouth at night) may also experience dry throat. A dry throat can sometimes present as an early symptom of a cold or flu.

A dry throat can be prevented by staying away from the things that trigger your allergies, quitting smoking and reducing your consumption of alcohol and caffeinated drinks. 

A dry throat can be treated by doing warm saline gargles, sucking on lozenges and drinking hot beverages. People with an allergy or gastric issues may require medications—addressing the underlying condition and taking soothing drinks will usually resolve their dry throat problem, too.

Dry throat symptoms

Depending on the underlying condition, a dry throat may accompany other symptoms. 

A dry throat can accompany symptoms of the respiratory system such as:

Digestive symptoms seen along with a dry throat are as follows:  

Some other symptoms that may be seen along with a dry throat are:

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Dry throat causes

A dry throat may occur due to environmental factors (weather), lifestyle factors (unhealthy habits) or due to a side effect from certain medications. The common causes are: 

A dry throat can also be a sign of an underlying disease such as asthma or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

How to prevent dry throat?

You can avoid drying of the throat by following some of these measures:

  • If you are allergic to pollen or dust, wear a mask when you go out. Try to stay indoors during spring and autumn, as there tends to be more pollen in the air during these seasons.
  • Clean any damp region in your house as it can result in mould spores.
  • Wash your bed sheets and other beddings weekly in hot water to avoid dust mites.
  • Drink lots of water and keep the consumption of alcohol and coffee to a minimum.

Dry throat diagnosis

The doctor would ask you a number of questions to diagnose the underlying condition which may have caused your dry throat. The questions would include the duration and severity of the dry throat, and whether you have habits such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption or tobacco chewing.

The doctor may also examine your tonsils and lymph nodes to determine if there is any inflammation.

The doctor would take your detailed medical history which may include the medicines or medical procedures that you may have undergone in the past.

In some cases, the doctor may advise some tests such as complete blood count, laryngoscopy and throat swab tests.

People with a history of allergies may have to get an allergy test done.

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Dry throat treatment

The treatment for a dry throat usually depends on the underlying conditions. The treatment options involve the following: 

  • Drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated and your throat moist.
  • Gargle with warm salt water to relieve the dryness of throat. Salt helps in better healing of the throat while the warm water helps in soothing the dryness. 
  • You can consume hot beverages such as black tea or green tea with honey and ginger. Honey and ginger have antimicrobial properties which soothe the throat and help in proper healing. 
  • You may use a humidifier to deal with dry throat caused due to environmental factors such as dry air or excessive use of indoor heaters. 
  • Quit smoking and reduce the consumption of alcohol and caffeine as they tend to cause dehydration.
  • Your doctor may prescribe some antihistamines if you have an allergy-related dry throat.
  • You may use over-the-counter decongestants to relieve cold and congestion.
  • You may consume some lozenges which help in keeping your throat moist. 
  • People with GERD must avoid fatty and oily food to prevent regurgitation of stomach acid. Doctors may also prescribe antacids to reduce stomach acids.
  • People with a habit of breathing through the mouth can get a prescription for an oral screen from their dentists.

Medicines for Dry throat

Medicines listed below are available for Dry throat. Please note that you should not take any medicines without doctor consultation. Taking any medicine without doctor's consultation can cause serious problems.