It starts as something fairly innocuous, a small tingle or tickle in the back of the throat that occurs once in a while.
After a few days, you may find yourself coughing and hacking when that tickle hits you at an inopportune moment. Soon that tickle is keeping you up at night with coughing attacks.
The common cold and allergies may be to blame for throat tickle. Gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, also may be linked to chronic cough.
The online medical resource Healthline.com defines a throat tickle as an irritation of the mucous membranes of the throat, which includes the trachea and esophagus.
Some describe it as a feeling of an itch you can’t scratch or a tingling sensation. Coughing does not always remove whatever is causing the tickle, which can be uncomfortable and persistent.
Medical News Today says that coughs are the most common symptom reported to primary care doctors.
Although rare, a tickle may be indicative of throat cancer. Oftentimes tickles and chronic coughs are harmless, but a doctor should be consulted if one or both symptoms last for a while.
Otherwise, these strategies may help with the tickle by aiming to resolve one of the underlying causes.
Address post-nasal drip
Postnasal drip occurs when extra mucus in the nose travels down into your throat. Normally, people do not notice the mucus that they swallow because it mixes with saliva.
But when the body makes more mucus than usual, or if it’s thicker than normal, it can be noticeable and irritating. Decongestants, antihistamines or expectorants may help.
If an allergy is causing the tickle, antihistamines may help. Avoiding substances that trigger allergies also is advised.
Infected sinuses are another common cause of a tickle in the throat. Bacterial infections may be treated with antibiotics.
Clear the air
Environmental irritants like air pollution, cigarette smoke, dust, and other particles can cause a tickle. Quitting smoking and limiting exposure to irritants can help.
Dehydration or dry air may be contributing to that tickle. Moisturizing the air with a humidifier and increasing production of saliva through warm beverages or citrusy foods and drinks might be beneficial.
Tickles in the throat can be annoying, but oftentimes they can be addressed and treated effectively. (MC)