An itchy throat and cough can be an annoying combination of symptoms with a wide variety of causes. Often referred to as a dry cough, this unpleasant condition can be a significant symptom of an infection or allergic reaction. If these symptoms appear without any additional problems, they may clear up with home treatment or rest. A persistent itchy cough and throat can sometimes be a symptom of a more serious condition that requires medical care.
One of the most common causes of these symptoms is allergies. Polluted air, inhaling dust or pollen, or even a food allergy can allow throat tissue to swell and become inflamed, resulting in a dry cough. Other symptoms accompanying these allergy symptoms may include a runny nose, eyes watering, and sneezing. Allergies are often successfully treated with over the counter anti-histamine drugs, but some severe cases may require prescription medication. Generally avoiding the source of the allergy is the best way to prevent a recurrence of symptoms.
People with serious food allergies need to be aware of the appearance of an itchy throat and cough. Since allergic reactions to food can constrict airways and even result in fatalities, it is important to pay close attention to these symptoms. Be especially careful when eating new foods that may not show evidence of allergens, such as nuts.
An itchy cough and throat may be the first sign of a cold or upper respiratory infection. When the body is attacked by a virus or bacteria, it throws in motion a variety of defenses that help defeat the illness, but result in common cold symptoms. Symptoms of a cold can often be treated with cold medicine, but many colds are viral in nature and cannot be treated with antibiotics. If heavy phlegm production occurs, or symptoms last for more than a week, consider consulting a doctor for further diagnosis.
Some smokers experience an itchy throat and cough caused by the inflammation of throat and lung tissue. This is a condition that can easily progress into more serious problems, such as cardiopulmonary disease, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis. If a chronic cough develops, it may be critically important to quit smoking at once and consult a doctor to see if permanent damage has occurred.
In rare cases, a persistent itchy throat and cough can be a sign of a serious disease such as tuberculosis. A bacterial infection, this condition was once a certain death sentence that can now often be treated with antibiotics. An easily misunderstood disease, tuberculosis can be both an active infection and a chronic, progressive condition. If these symptoms occur after known or suspected exposure to tuberculosis, seek medical attention immediately.