What causes itchy throat and ears?
Itchiness of throat and ears are caused by virus called coronaviruses. These viruses cause itchy throat and ear symptoms during cold season. Itching of throat and ear may occur due to viral infection or bacterial infection. Infection with coronavirus is usually contracted from person to person contact. Bacterial infections include colds, flu, pneumonia, sinusitis, bronchitis, chicken pox etc.
How does it spread?
The virus spreads through direct contact with infected person’s mouth, eyes, or nasal passages. It can also be transmitted when someone coughs or sneezes into your face. The virus can survive in the air for up to several hours after exposure. Once airborne, the virus can travel long distances within a short period of time. It is possible that the virus could infect other people without their knowing it because they might not have had close contact with you.
Can I catch it?
Yes, you can catch it. However, there is no evidence that anyone has ever been infected with this virus outside of the hospital setting. Therefore, if you think you might have itchy throat and ears then contact your doctor immediately for testing. If you do test positive for the virus then treatment will likely involve antiviral medication which includes drugs such as Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (azithromycin). These drugs may not be available in the event of a widespread epidemic.
What are the symptoms?
A sore throat often accompanied by a runny nose, cough, fever and body aches. Your throat should not be as painful as a strep infection and will not have the redness or white spots of a strep infection. A fever, which can spike as high as 104 to105 degrees, is a common symptom and is usually present for at least a day before other symptoms begin.
How long does it last?
The average length of time from exposure to the virus to the start of symptoms is about one to two days. Once you become sick, you should begin to feel better in about a week. For most people this virus will not cause any long-term or lasting health effects or complications.
How is it treated?
Epsom Salt Baths
One of the best home remedies for itchy throat and ears relief is taking an epsom salt bath. Epsom salt baths help to draw toxins out through the skin. In a hot bath, slowly add ¼ to ½ cup of epsom salt. Stir it into the water until it dissolves and then soak for about 20 minutes.
Bathing this way 2 to 3 times a day should give you relief from the itch.
Some people find that taking extra vitamin C can help to reduce the severity of their cold symptoms and the length of time they last. Vitamin C is also thought to enhance the immune system which means it can speed up your body’s ability to fight off infection and get rid of the virus causing your itchy throat and ears more quickly. Vitamin C is present in many foods such as oranges, strawberries, chili peppers and bell peppers.
Over The Counter Antihistamines
These drugs counter the effects of histamine which is the chemical your body releases when you have an allergic reaction or an itch. They help to relieve your allergy symptoms by stopping your body from producing too much histamine. Antihistamines are available in tablet, liquid, spray or dissolving tablet form. They have few side effects but may make you drowsy so do not take them if you are planning to drive or use machinery.
If your doctor suspects that you have an infection as well as the cold then he may prescribe an antibiotic. This will likely be a combination product containing antibiotics and a decongestant. These drugs help to reduce the severity of your cold symptoms and speed up your recovery.
Antibiotics such as Amoxicillin, Augmentin or Cefuroxime are often effective but if your infection is caused by a virus then they will be useless and may even cause harm as your body will not be able to process them and they may cause allergic reactions.
Antibiotics should be taken for a minimum of 10 days and up to 14 days. Antibiotics can cause diarrhea, nausea and abdominal pain. If you suffer from stomach ulcers or kidney problems you may experience more severe side effects.
These drugs shrink the mucous membranes in your nose and sinuses which relieves your blocked nose. They are called “pseudoephedrine” if they are OTC or “phenylephrine” if they are prescription only. Either way, they can cause side effects such as restlessness, excitability, nausea, headaches, dizziness and shakiness. They can also worsen any heart or blood vessel problems you may have.
These drugs should not be taken by anyone under 18 with a history of hyperactivity or heart problems.
These drugs are a combination of an antihistamine and a decongestant. They relieve your stuffy nose, itchy throat and watery eyes by blocking the release of certain chemicals in your body. These drugs can cause side effects such as dry mouth, drowsiness, headaches and excitability in children. If you have high blood pressure, avoid these types as they can increase blood pressure in some people.
Decongestants and antihistamines can be bought as individual pills or in a combined product. They can be purchased without a prescription but some products such as Chloraseptic are available on prescription only.
There are a number of other treatments which will help to relieve your cold symptoms.
Saline solutions are a mix of salt and water which relieve your blocked nose and sooth your sore throat. You can buy them ready made or make your own. To make your own, simply dissolve 1 teaspoon of common table salt in 8oz of warm water. You can soak cotton wool in the solution and gently squeeze it up one nostril to soothe and unblock your nose.
Some pharmacies sell little plastic tubes for this purpose.
A cup of hot tea, warm water with honey or lemon or any other hot drink can help to loosen phlegm and thin out mucus making it easier to cough up or blow your nose.
A humidifier relieves that dry “winter throat” feeling by adding moisture to the air. It can also unblock stuffed noses by putting moisture into the dry air that can cause your sinuses to become congested.
You can make your own using a small pot of water and a petroleum jelly covered plugged hole at the top of the pot to create a warm steam effect.
Some humidifiers are electric, these work by heating up the water inside. In these cases, you should check the water level daily and top up as necessary.
Other humidifiers called cool mist humidifiers work by adding water to a vinegar solution. This solution sits in a container above a heating element. The steam from the water and vinegar solution is then breathed in through a spout at the top of the humidifier.
Hot steam helps to loosen dried mucus in your chest and relieve that dry scratchy feeling in your throat. You can do this using a hot shower or a steaming hot bath. If you have a hot shower, add a few drops of lavender or eucalyptus oil to the running water to help ease your blocked nose. If you have a bath, add around quarter of a cup of vinegar to the bathwater as this helps to relieve the congestion in your chest.
You should not be in the hot steam for too long as this can dry your skin and make your congestion worse.
Over The Counter Medicines
These are available from pharmacies and supermarkets and should be taken as directed on the packet or bottle. They can relieve your fever, pain, cough and lethargy but they will not get to the root of the problem like antibiotics do. Some of the branded medicines such as Benylin, Nyquil and Sudafed are known to be effective, others such as DayQuil and Dimetapp are less so.
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