Throat irritation mostly occurs in connection with a cold. Since those affected cough constantly, it can be a major problem, especially at night - when it interferes with sleep. But it can also have other causes.
The causes for Throat irritation can be diverse.
Also known in medical jargon as a dry, tickly cough, the term refers to a persistent, strong cough caused by irritation in the lower respiratory tract.
Coughing attacks are often the result. It is characteristic that it is not accompanied by expectoration. Therefore, it is a so-called unproductive cough. Pain can also occur in this context.
In general, coughing is the body's protective reflex to cleanse the airways. It should be noted that it is not a disease in itself, but a concomitant phenomenon. A basic distinction should be made between acute and chronic forms.
The causes for Throat irritation can be diverse. One of the most common is associated with a cold, especially in its first phase. Pathogens get into the mucous membrane of the airways, which becomes inflamed as a result - the infection then triggers the stimulus.
Other respiratory diseases such as laryngitis, bronchitis, whooping cough or bronchial asthma are also accompanied by this symptom. Caution is advised if there is also a high fever - then pneumonia may be suspected. In rare cases, a chronic urge to cough can indicate serious illnesses such as lung cancer.
However, the cause of an urge to cough is not always linked to respiratory diseases; it is often caused by allergic reactions. It can also be caused by taking certain medications such as ACE inhibitors. Last but not least, influences such as cigarette smoke, lack of fluids or a foreign body that has got into the windpipe are also common triggers.
Depending on its cause, an urge to cough can cause various accompanying symptoms and complaints. If the urge to cough is based on the onset of a cold, typical symptoms such as headache and body aches, runny nose, hoarseness and sore throat occur. Often there is also a slight fever and a feeling of illness. If the cause is irritation of the respiratory tract, for example from dust or smoke, then the irritation to cough will be accompanied by watery eyes and scratchy throat.
Occasionally a shortness of breath occurs, which usually subsides after a few seconds. If gases are the cause, the urge to cough is usually accompanied by severe headaches, tiredness and impaired consciousness. It can also cause pain in the throat and often swelling of the nose, mouth and throat. An urge to cough that occurs as part of the flu usually develops slowly.
At the beginning, the person concerned initially feels a slight irritation and typical side effects such as a runny nose and headache. These symptoms increase in intensity as the disease progresses and result in a strong feeling of illness. The urge to cough itself can lead to difficulty swallowing and speaking. Chronic complaints cause irritation of the airways and lead to hoarseness and ultimately to loss of voice.
The development of the symptom Throat irritation varies depending on the disease. Acute forms such as colds last less than three weeks, while chronic forms last longer, sometimes for life. Examples of this are bronchial asthma and chronic obstructive bronchitis.
In the case of a cold, the dry one usually develops into a slimy cough after a few days in order to transport the pathogens out of the airways. In the case of colds and laryngitis, it subsides after a few days, while in the case of bronchitis it can last a little longer than two weeks.
In the case of whooping cough, the coughing blows subside after around three to four months. Depending on the cause, respiratory diseases are also accompanied by symptoms such as sore throat, runny nose, headache and body aches as well as fatigue. To rule out serious reasons, a doctor should be consulted, especially if there is also a fever or shortness of breath, or if the symptoms do not improve within a week.
A cough is not an independent clinical picture, but a defense reflex of the human body. This reflex is supposed to move foreign bodies or mucus out of the throat area. Of course, various complications can arise in connection with an urge to cough, which may even have to be treated by a doctor. In most cases, a repeated urge to cough occurs due to an infection with bacteria or viruses.
Mucus forms in the throat area and the urge to cough repeatedly occurs. Those who leave this clinical picture without any treatment are putting themselves at great risk. There is a high probability that the urge to cough will worsen significantly, so that the airways continue to become clogged with mucus. In addition, typical cold symptoms often occur, such as a high temperature, dizziness, sweating, nausea or vomiting.
It is imperative that these complications are treated by a doctor with appropriate medication, otherwise they can be expected to worsen considerably. Under certain circumstances this can even develop into pneumonia, which of course must be treated by a doctor. For this reason, an urge to cough is of course associated with many different complications. If these complications remain without medical or drug treatment, the condition can be expected to worsen significantly.
Coughing is a natural reaction of the body. An acute urge to cough that quickly disappears is mostly harmless and does not require further clarification by the doctor. However, if the urge to cough repeatedly occurs, a doctor must be consulted. Basically, the symptoms must be examined if they last longer than four to six weeks and increase in intensity and duration over the course of the day. Concomitant symptoms also require an examination by your family doctor or an ENT doctor. If, for example, sputum is added, often accompanied by wheezing or barking noises when coughing, this must be clarified.
People who suffer from chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease should see a doctor if they have an urge to cough. The same applies if a throat irritation occurs in connection with a heart failure, lung cancer or the use of certain medications (e.g. ACE inhibitors). If after contact with possibly toxic substances or contact with foreign bodies an acute irritation to the throat occurs, the hospital must be visited on the same day. Children suffering from whooping cough are best taken to the pediatrician.
Treatment of Throat irritation varies depending on the disease, a targeted prescription and administration of appropriate medication also combats the urge to cough in acute forms.
If the symptom is related to a cold, antitussives, cough suppressants, can be prescribed. These include, for example, the active ingredients codeine or noscapine. Antibiotics should only be prescribed for bacterial causes. There are also many drops, juices, coated tablets and pastilles that are not subject to prescription requirements and can therefore be purchased over the counter in pharmacies and drugstores.
Cold ointments with camphor or eucalyptus oil can also alleviate the symptoms. Alternatively, home remedies such as onion juice, curd or potato wraps can help.
In general, you should drink enough, for example sage or chamomile tea. Sage has a general anti-inflammatory effect, so sucking sage candy can also have a positive effect on recovery. Cold baths that contain essential oils can also help relieve coughing and other cold symptoms.
Basically, you should take it easy and, if necessary, keep bed rest. In chronic forms, the quality of life of the patient can be increased with appropriate medication, but the disease itself remains. If a dry cough is caused by medication, the responsible doctor should always be consulted so that an alternative can be prescribed.
Throat irritation can be caused by many factors. The prognosis depends on what triggered the cough.
If the urge to cough is triggered by dry room air, overheated rooms or dust accumulation, the prognosis is good. This also applies to inhaled flour dust or animal hair. The triggering sources must be eliminated. The urge to cough can also indicate an upcoming cold, sore throat, lung problems or a smoker's cough. Other triggers of dry coughs can be allergic asthma, pleurisy or COPD.
Depending on the situation, other accompanying symptoms may be present. First of all, it must be determined why the urge to cough is present. Only then can it be determined what the forecast is. Normally you can achieve permanent freedom from symptoms within a few weeks if you have a cold-related dry cough. It is even faster if the source of the irritable cough can be identified and eliminated quickly.
Dry coughs in smokers can be persistent as long as nicotine-containing smoke is inhaled. In the event of an allergic cough, the allergens must be eliminated. If the urge to cough is caused by inhaled foreign bodies in the throat, pharynx or windpipe, the prognosis is positive after their removal. Even small injuries to the mucous membrane in the mouth and throat heal quickly. It becomes more difficult if the urge to cough has psychological causes. With a nervous cough, there is often no real stimulus, but only a felt one.
The Throat irritation can be prevented if it occurs as a result of inflammation of the airways. A lot of fluids should be taken daily, for example tea, mineral water or juice spritzers. The immune system can also be strengthened with a balanced, vitamin-rich diet in combination with regular physical activity.
Alternating showers and sauna visits can also have a positive effect on this. Another way to prevent a dry cough that is not associated with irritation of the respiratory tract is to avoid active and passive smoking
In order to achieve permanent relief from the cough stimulus or even its complete disappearance, the trigger must be eliminated. If the irritation occurs in dry room and heating air, air humidifiers ensure a better and less irritation room climate. Eliminating the cause has top priority, especially when it comes to an allergic dry cough.
If reactions to dust are generally triggered, frequent dusting with a damp cloth will help. If the urge to cough occurs through animal hair, however, further steps must be reconsidered. Small animals can usually be relocated to a separate room or to an outdoor enclosure in the garden and contact with the person affected can be greatly reduced. This is difficult with cats or dogs, especially since they lose their hair in the entire apartment. Under certain circumstances, only handing over the animal helps.
A cold-related dry cough disappears after a few weeks and can be relieved a little with a spoonful of honey if necessary. The situation is more difficult with smokers. The dry cough lasts as long as nicotine-containing smoke is inhaled. Temporary or even permanent cessation of smoking offers the best chance. If the trigger cannot be found, it may be based on a psychological cause for which psychotherapy can bring relief.
Coughing is not a reason to go to the doctor, because even healthy people have to "cough freely" from time to time. The free cough has a natural protective function to rid the body of harmful bacteria and germs. However, if the urge to cough solidifies into a cough, there are measures for self-help.
Inhaling frees the bronchi from the irritating mucus. The effect of inhalation can also be increased by using chamomile or essential oils from eucalypsus, mountain pine or spruce needles. Chamomile works against inflammation of the bronchi, while the essential oils like inhalation help to clear the bronchi of mucus. In general, when you cough you should drink a lot so that the mucous membranes are moistened and the mucus can loosen. The classic cough tea from the pharmacy or home remedies such as onion juice with rock sugar can help. Chamomile tea has a calming effect on the bronchi, fennel tea dissolves the mucus and sage tea covers the mucous membrane with a damp layer so that the urge to cough can be absorbed.
However, if the cough does not go away after weeks, you should consult your family doctor or ENT doctor to clarify the cause. The doctor can then clarify the cause and order suitable therapies. Otherwise the cough threatens to become chronic once it has settled in the bronchi.