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Why Do I Have a Dry Throat?

Although experiencing a dry throat may not be an immediate cause for concern, you may be wondering if your dry throat is an indicator of a more serious condition. Therefore, it is critical to know what is causing your scratchy throat so that you can seek out the necessary treatment to soothe your discomfort. 

There are numerous reasons that you may be experiencing a dry throat, but here are some of the most common causes


One of the most easily treated reasons why you may have a dry throat is simply from dehydration. There are three pairs of salivary glands in your mouth and throat, but a lack of adequate water in the body can lead to a shortage in saliva production. In fact, studies have found that 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. Some other signs that may indicate your parched throat is due to dehydration include: 

  • Feeling thirsty 
  • Urinating less frequently than usual
  • Having darker urine
  • Dizziness or fatigue 

How to Treat Dehydration

How much water you should consume in a day is based on a variety of factors, including what climate you live in, your activity level, and your body weight. In general, men should aim for 15.5 cups of water, while women should have 11.5 cups. Along with drinking enough water, you may want to avoid caffeinated sodas, coffee, and alcohol, which can all further dehydrate your body. 


Seasonal allergies, also known as hay fever, are another frequent cause of a scratchy throat. Affecting more than 50 million Americans every year, allergies occur when your immune system overreacts to an external environmental trigger, such as: 

  • Pollen
  • Grass
  • Pet dander
  • Mold
  • Dust 
  • Foods 

As a result, these allergens cause your body to release histamines, which can irritate membranes in the throat, leading to dryness. 

How to Treat Allergies

To relieve the irritation in your throat, consider trying over-the-counter antihistamines or nasal sprays. However, for a long-term solution, it may be necessary to get allergy tested so that you can identify your allergen triggers. 

The Common Cold 

Adults tend to be afflicted with the common cold about two to three times every year, and children contract the virus even more frequently than that. This viral infection is likely to cause a dry throat and will usually be accompanied with other symptoms such as: 

How to Treat the Common Cold

Since a virus causes the common cold, antibiotics are unfortunately ineffective at treating this condition. To soothe your scratchy throat, it may help to:

  • Drink warm liquids, such as broth or hot tea with honey
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Gargle with warm water and some salt
  • Drink extra fluids
  • Use a humidifier at night

The Flu 

Similar to the common cold, the flu is a respiratory illness that is caused by a virus. However, symptoms of the flu can be considerably more severe than that of a cold, and they can lead to serious complications, especially in: 

  • Young children
  • People with chronic medical conditions or weakened immune systems
  • Older adults 

How to Treat the Flu

The best treatment is always prevention, so you should make sure to get your annual flu vaccine during flu season. If you do contract the flu, you should make sure to follow a similar treatment plan as you would if you caught the common cold. 

Strep Throat 

Another cause of your parched throat may be strep throat, which is an infection caused by bacteria. Not only will your throat feel dry, but it may also be very sore, accompanied with: 

  • Swollen tonsils
  • White patches on your tonsils
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Body aches 

How to Treat Strep Throat 

Since strep throat is caused by bacteria rather than a virus, you can treat the condition with prescribed antibiotics. It is critical that you take your full dose of antibiotics; otherwise, the bacteria will likely stay alive in your body. As the antibiotics take their course, you can gargle warm water with salt to help your irritated throat. 

Sleeping with your Mouth Open 

Sleeping with your mouth open can also cause a dry throat. When you sleep with your mouth open, the air that you breathe in can evaporate the moisture and saliva from your throat, leading to a dry and scratchy feeling. This habit can also lead to: 

  • Snoring
  • Bad breath 
  • Fatigue 

How to Prevent Sleeping with Your Mouth Open

Some people sleep with their mouth open if nasal congestion prevents them from getting adequate air during the night. You can prevent yourself from sleeping with your mouth open by using an adhesive nasal strip on the bridge of your nose to help keep your nasal passages open and increase airflow.

Contact Ear and Sinus Institute

If you are persistently experiencing a dry throat, you should make an appointment with Dr. Marc Dean. A board-certified otolaryngologist, Dr. Dean, practices full-time at the Ear and Sinus Institute to help patients from all over the world find relief from their complex ear and sinus issues. Contact us here or call (817) 332-4060 to learn more about how we can help.  

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