It's an all too common human experience to roll out from under the covers and realise that your throat is dry. This annoying symptom can make it difficult to speak, swallow or even eat. We're here to help you understand the most likely causes of a dry throat and what to do about it.
How To Get Rid Of A Dry Throat
Did you know that you have hundreds of salivary glands that supply saliva to your mouth and throat? These glands rely on a steady supply of water to do their job. Dehydration can cause a lack of saliva production, along with a dry throat and dry mouth.
Saliva helps lubricate your throat and mouth, so it’s important to ensure your body can make enough of it to prevent a dry feeling. If dehydration is your problem, effective home remedies for dry throat might be as simple as finding ways to drink more water. To stimulate saliva production, consider chewing medicinal gum or consuming dairy products.
Helpful tip: According to Sport Singapore, there's no single right amount of water to drink. Although "drink eight glasses of water a day" is something you probably have been hearing since young, that's just a rule of thumb. Other factors, like your general health, how active you are, the climate and what you eat, play a part too. Listen to your body - it will tell you to drink water when you need it. Take note of your urine - the colour of your urine and frequency at which you visit the toilet (at least four times per day for healthy individuals) will give you an idea of when you need to top up on water.
Hay fever (also known as allergic rhinitis) occurs when your body is sensitive to particles entering through your airway, increasing mucus production and inflaming your nasal passages. This response can cause you to experience a range of symptoms, including a dry throat.
Allergens and irritants like pollen, dander, dust and smoke are likely to trigger hay fever.
If you’re experiencing hay fever, your symptoms may include:
- Dry throat or dry mouth
- Congested or runny nose
It can be frustrating to deal with hay fever, but there are various steps you can take to prevent exposure and manage your symptoms.
Treatment and prevention tips include:
- Medications: Both prescription and over-the-counter options are available to reduce some of the most annoying symptoms, like runny nose and dry throat. These options include antihistamines, decongestants and other widely available options.
- Air Conditioning: Avoid fans that can blow particles around in favour of air conditioning that can help remove them from the air.
- Protect your eyes: Wear sunglasses to block particles from entering your eyes, and try not to rub your eyes to avoid aggravating them.
- Keep a clean environment: Regular removal of potential irritants or allergens will help prevent episodes or reduce your symptoms.
The Common Cold
The common cold is, as the name suggests, incredibly common. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center in the United States, this condition leads to more people visiting healthcare professionals and calling out from work than any other. Most colds are caused by viruses - more than 200 different viruses - according to the Ministry of Social and Family Development.
Symptoms of the common cold may include:
- Mucus in your throat
- Itchy throat
- Congested or runny nose
- Soreness or tiredness
While there’s no cure for the common cold, there are many steps you can take to reduce its symptoms:
- Drink plenty of fluids and get a lot of rest
- Use over-the-counter medications as instructed on the packaging, like decongestants, cough medicine, antihistamines or pain medication
- Gargle with a mixture of salt dissolved in warm water
Did you know: Despite what you may have heard from friends and relatives, the common cold is not caused by exposure to cold or wetness.
Waking Up With Dry Throat
If you go to bed feeling fine but wake up with a bothersome dry throat, you might be breathing through your mouth while you sleep. This can be caused by a congested nose or throat, sleeping on your back or another medical condition.
You may also find yourself with a dry throat in the morning if you experience sleep apnoea, a condition that disrupts your breathing and sleep. Sleep apnoea is a serious condition that can cause other health problems, so it's important to speak with your medical professional.
To prevent waking up to an annoying dry throat, it’s a good idea to drink a glass of water before bed to help prevent dehydration, avoid sleeping on your back if possible, and take steps to unclog your nose, so you don’t breathe out of your mouth.
There are many potential causes for your dry throat, so the best bet is to determine and treat its underlying cause. While it can be hard to do this on your own, luckily, there are medical professionals at your disposal to assist with expert diagnosis and treatment. There you go. You’re now informed of the top causes of your dry throat and are ready to manage your symptoms.