What to do for an itchy throat due to allergies
«The purpose of a cough is to assist us,» says Monica Lee, MD, an otolaryngologist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear. It’s your body’s way of trying to expel something it perceives as a threat in the airway, she says.
Those perceived threats can be a bunch of diverse things: a piece of food stuck in your throat, pollen, air pollution, or swelling or drainage from additional mucus in your throat. Every those things irritate the sensory fibers in your airway, which then stimulate a cough.
As for what exactly happens in your body during a cough? It’s helpful of complicated, says Dr. Lee. Basically, your vocal chords shut briefly to generate pressure in the lungs.
Once enough pressure is built up, your vocal chords open back up, and air flows quickly through your voice box, which generates that coughing sound. Kinda cool, huh?
So…can allergies cause coughing? Give it to me straight.
In short, yes. Generally, allergies create dry coughs (it’s a direct reaction to something you’re sensitive or allergic to in the airways).
If that’s the case, you’ll likely own other symptoms (think: itchy, watery eyes; a runny nose; an itchy throat; and sneezing, says Dr. Lee). Headaches and wheezing often come with allergies, too, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
Timing’s also a factor. If you’re allergic to pollen (or your BFF’s new adorable kitten), for example, you’ll likely notice symptoms (including your cough) almost immediately, or within an hour of being exposed.
And those symptoms could final for hours after you’ve been exposed—even after the allergen isn’t nearby anymore.
Coughs related to allergies are also dependent on patterns, so doctors always attempt to glance at the large picture. Tell you get a cough every single March. That could be a sign you’re actually suffering from allergies, instead of the common freezing. «You need to glance at everything that’s going on,» says Paul Bryson, MD, an otolaryngologist at the Cleveland Clinic.
Your best defense for a cough from allergies?
Antihistamines love Allegra, Claritin, and Zyrtec, which are every available over-the-counter. Other options include steroid nasal sprays and immunotherapy shots, which can work to regulate your body’s response to allergens, instead of just relieving the symptoms.
An introduction to sore, dry and itchy throats and seasonal allergies
Dry, itchy and sore throats are common symptoms which numerous seasonal allergies sufferers own to endure.
They may not be the symptoms which spring to mind when we ponder of allergies, but for those who experience it, they can be some of the most irritating, making it painful to swallow.
We every know that if we hold our nose, we own to breathe through our mouth. Holding your nose creates a similar effect to that of nasal congestion. If seasonal allergies is causing a blocked nose, you will be forced to use your mouth to breathe.
Your nose is lined with fine hair and mucus, making it more effective at warming air than your mouth.
Having a blocked nose means that freezing air is entering your mouth and throat when you breathe, drying out the moisture created by saliva. As the tissue in your throat is more sensitive than your mouth, we tend to notice the effect of dryness in our throats first.
Your nose is also better at filtering air than your mouth. This means that it traps pollen particles before they can enter into your system.
However, when you start to breathe through your mouth, the pollen particles own direct access into your body. They land at the back of your throat, irritating the tissue.
Additionally, your body senses the arrival of pollen, and treats it as a potentially threatening foreign body. This triggers the release of the chemical histamine to fight off the invasion.
Histamine causes the nerve endings to become more sensitive, resulting in symptoms of itchiness in the throat and soft palate.
The combination of a dry and itchy throat, particularly over a prolonged period of time such as throughout the seasonal allergies season, often causes the throat tissues to become inflamed – this is experienced as a sore throat.
In addition, excess mucus in inflamed nasal passages and sinuses drains to the back of the throat, in a process called post-nasal drip. This mucus irritates the sensitive tissues of the throat, causing tenderness.
This is particularly noticeable when swallowing.
Do I ever need to worry about a cough?
Something significant to remember: A cough—no matter its cause—shouldn’t be your norm.
Colds generally run their course within a couple of weeks, which means a cough associated with a freezing should go away in about three weeks time (though some can linger on for as endless as eight weeks), according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. The length of an allergy-related cough will vary depending on how (if) you’re treating it.
But if you notice you’re still barking after two months of symptoms, see your doc.
You could either be dealing with an allergy you’re not aware of (this is where an allergy test could come into play) or potentially suffering from another issue such as asthma (especially if you notice shortness of breath with any of your symptoms), reflux, pneumonia, or bronchitis, says Dr. Bryson.
And if something (allergies or a pesky cold) is bothering you enough to disrupt your life, don’t put off getting it checked out. If nothing else, seeing a doc will give you peace of mind and maybe even speed up your recovery time.
Cassie ShortsleeveFreelance WriterCassie Shortsleeve is a skilled freelance author and editor with almost a decade of experience reporting on every things health, fitness, and travel.
How do I know my cough is from a cold?
You know how allergy coughs are typically on the drier side?
Coughs from colds (or the flu) tend to be on the wetter side (that «wetness» is actually mucus your body is trying to move out of your body, says Dr. Lee).
Coughs that come along with a freezing generally come along with stuffiness, along with postnasal drip (a.k.a., mucus running below the back of your throat), which can cause a sore throat or chest discomfort. A low-grade fever may also signal a freezing instead of allergies.
Colds aren’t as immediate as allergies. Instead, they tend to develop over the course of a few days, says Dr. Bryson.
You can attempt a few diverse things to assist relieve a cough. Decongestants can work for, well, congestion. And ingredients love dextromethorphan (found in numerous multi-symptom products love Vicks NyQuil Freezing & Flu Nighttime Relief) can can assist ease the coughing itself.
Just make certain you take any products as-directed.
It should be said, however, that a dry cough isn’t always allergies, just love a wet cough isn’t always a freezing. Allergies can plague your nose, for example, causing post-nasal drip (a wet cough), while mild colds might not leave you stuffed up enough to produce any phlegm.
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