Tickle in Throat: Causes and Natural Treatments

Tickle in Throat

Tickle in throat could be a sign and symptom of different health ailments. The severity of the diseases ranges from mild to moderate in most cases.

The worst case scenario could be throat cancer. Before jumping to conclusions about the worst case scenario, it is best to understand the underlying causes of a tickle in the throat.

Signs and Symptoms of Tickle in Throat

Dry, unproductive cough (a cough that is void of mucus) and itchy feeling are some of the major signs of a tickle in the throat. A cough could be directly associated with the tickle or a byproduct; for example, the cough is the body’s reaction to the tickle.

If a cough produces mucus, it is most likely from a cold or virus. People catch colds from direct contact with the virus. Direct contact happens mostly through breathing in infected air or failing to wash hands.

Besides an unproductive cough, here are other symptoms for the tickle in throat:

What Causes a Tickle in Your Throat?

The tickle in the throat has the lingering characteristic of being annoying and distracting. The first step to properly alleviating this tickle is to figure out the cause.

1. Cold or Flu

Colds or flu are common causes of a tickle in the throat because of correlated symptoms. Those symptoms are post nasal drip, sore throat, and coughing.

2. Allergies

Common symptoms of allergies bring tickle in the throat. Those symptoms are post nasal drip, sneezing, runny nose, and dry cough.

3. Smoking

Smoking tobacco or weed (even second-hand smoke) could be a culprit of the tickle since it is a form of pollution and considered as an irritant.

4. Excessive Talking, Yelling, Singing, and Screaming

These actions affect the voice box. Excessive talking, yelling, singing, and screaming have the ability to overwork the voice box, and swelling of throat develops as an effect.

5. Heaters and Air Conditioners

Heaters and air conditioners produce dry air. Persistent tickle in the throat is the result of overexposure to dry air.

6. Laryngitis

Laryngitis, linked to one of the following conditions: colds, upper respiratory infections, pollution, smoking, or excessive talking or shouting, can also cause a tickle in throat.

7. Pharyngitis

This condition is an inflammation of the pharynx, and common symptoms are a sore throat, cough, and tickly cough.

8. Bronchitis

The tickle in throat is the main symptom of this viral infection of the respiratory tract. Another symptom associated with the tickle is a dry, unproductive cough that could have stains of blood.

9. Pneumonia

The causes of pneumonia are viruses, chemical irritants, or other irritants that affect the lungs. The ciliated cells are destroyed in the respiratory tract, and this is the explanation for tickle in the throat.

10. Pregnancy

During the early stages of pregnancy, your immune system gets weaker, and your body undergoes several hormonal changes. Due to this, your body can produce a rough cough.

Chronic Tickle in Throat at Night

The annoying characteristics of the constant tickle in throat can lead to sleepless nights. There are various causes for it. Irritating components like pollution, cigarette smoke, and post nasal drip are culprits, yet there are more moderate conditions that could play into it.

  • Sinus infections post nasal drip is the main symptom of this type of infection.
  • Acid reflux an example of a disease that causes acid reflux is GERD. Coughing is a major sign of GERD.
  • Iron deficiency, lack of iron leads to swelling in the back of the throat, and swollen throat is the cause of persistent tickle in the throat.

Is Tickle in Throat Sign of Throat Cancer?

When all else fails in the top ten causes, throat cancer is a possibility. It is a scary possibility, and one of the “red flags” for throat cancer is a cough that lasts more than eight weeks (1). In this case, you should consider visiting a doctor. A stomach reflux generates coughing, and a constant coughing leads to a condition called Barrett’s Esophagus.

During this condition, the lining of the esophagus abnormally grows. Other symptoms of throat cancer include:

  • Change in voice
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Weight loss
  • Persistent need to clear the throat
  • Wheezing
  • Coarse voice

How to Get Rid of a Tickle in Throat Naturally?

Treating tickle in the throat at home is easy and inexpensive. Here are ten common natural remedies to try before considering a doctor’s visit.

1. Herbal Tea

Research shows that sipping herbal tea can soothe tickle in the throat. Certain herbal teas, like red clover tea, are aimed to alleviate throat irritations. To maximize results, add a bit of honey to tea after it is done steeping.

2. Honey

Honey is known to alleviate throat conditions, especially tickle in the throat because it contains anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown honey is better to use than allergy medicines, such as diphenhydramine. Before bed, swallow two teaspoons of raw honey.

3. Use a Humidifier or Add Humidity

Humidifiers balance out the air by adding moisture to the environment. If humidifiers are not an option, taking a steamy bath or shower is a good substitute.

4. Gargle Sea Salt Water

Gargling sea salt water does the following: relieve dryness of throat, washes out viruses, and reduces pain and inflammation. Simply add ½ teaspoon of sea salt to 8 oz of warm water.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is an antiviral and antibacterial agent. It is known to treat throat infections and relieve dryness of throat. To prepare this drink, mix 8 oz of warm water, one teaspoon of raw honey, and one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.

6. Aloe Vera Juice

Aloe vera juice can treat bronchitis, scratchy throat, and inflamed airways because it contains enzymes, minerals, and anti-inflammatory properties. To prepare the gargle, add aloe vera juice to warm water.

7. Ginger Tea

Ginger is known to alleviate coughs and tickle in the throat. It contains compounds that help relax airway passages. All is needed to prepare the ginger tea is 1-2 inch block of grated ginger added to boiling water. Let it boil for five minutes.

8. Milk

The thickness of milk can hydrate the throat which, in return, alleviates dryness and cough. To maximize its potential at night, warming the milk is recommended.

9. Elevate Head While Sleeping

Elevating the head reduces irritation from post-nasal drip. If the head is not elevated and the post-nasal drip is still present, this could create a backup causing cough and the tickle.

10. Change Bedding

Unclean bedding contains dust mites which cause allergies. Best practice is to change bedding every week. For extra protection, you can wrap the bedding and pillows in plastic during the day. This can help reduce the population of dust mites and allergies.

When to See a Doctor

In most cases, this type of throat irritation should clear up in some time. However, if you have a constant tickle in throat, even after ruling out all the possible causes, it is the time to see a doctor. Seek a professional medical help when you experience the following symptoms in addition to the tickle in your throat:

  • A sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A persistent fever
  • Facial pain
  • Headache
  • A thick, colored postnasal drip
  • Throat scratchiness
  • Hoarseness


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