Q: Just last night I woke up several times with itchy eyes, throat, and ear, and a stuffy nose. What could cause these symptoms to occur together? Did I have an allergic reaction? What cures these uncomfortable symptoms?
Answer: Itchy throat, stuffy nose, runny eyes, and cough are all symptoms of ragweed allergies. Other common allergic reactions include sneezing, nasal and head congestion, itching ears, fatigue and lethargy, and swollen, red eyelids. While rare, certain types of cancer like pharynx or larynx tumors can also cause itchy throat and stuffy nose.
Other Causes of Itchy Throat and Stuffy Nose
- Allergy to pollens (hay fever), dust mites , molds and other inhaled particles can all cause a runny and itchy nose, sneezing, cough, wet and itchy eyes.
- Food allergies commonly cause an itchy throat, itchy/tingling lips, swelling of the face, and hives (urticaria) on the upper part of the body.
- Vasomotor rhinitis, also sometimes called idiopathic or irritant rhinitis, causes congestion and stuffy nose, along with throat irritation. It is triggered by the changes in blood vessels and nerve cells in the nasal passages.
- Viral infections , like common cold (rhinovirus), flu (influenza virus), infectious mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr virus), mumps, chickenpox or measles usually cause infection of upper respiratory tract with an itchy sore throat.
- Endotracheal intubation (a plastic tube inserted into the throat to keep mouth open during artificial breathing or other procedures), gastric or bronchial endoscopy may leave a sore itchy throat lasting for few days.
- Nasal ozena causes chronic, incurable inflammation of mucosa in the nose or throat.
- Changes in the weather (barometric pressure changes) or infections of the esophagus lining could also cause an itchy throat.
- Itchy throat and stuffy nose cause be caused by pet allergies, and is something that pet owners should seriously examine.
- Burns after drinking hot liquids or corrosive substances (acids, petrol) may cause itchy throat for prolong periods.
Hay Fever Symptoms
One of the most common forms of allergic conditions is hay fever, which is characterized by sneezing with runny and itchy nose and eyes. Allergic rhinitis (hay fever) describes the lining of the nose when it becomes inflamed (red and swollen). Symptoms appear in bouts and may last as long the trigger exists (in hay fever at any time from early spring to late autumn ).
If you start sneezing suddenly, or have respiratory congestion and itchy eyes as soon as you go outside, but your symptoms improve when you go inside, you may be suffering from allergies and not a cold.
Common Cold, Itchy Throat, Stuffy Nose
Causes for itchy nose vary widely from common cold to underlying medical illness. A cold starts with a scratchy throat, stuffy or runny nose, sneezing and feeling run down. Fortunately, a sore or itchy throat typically lasts only for a day or two at the start of a cold. There would be repeated itching on the inside of your nose if a common cold is present.
Note: A runny nose and sneezing won’t tell you for sure whether you have a cold or allergies because they can be signs of either condition.
How to Cure an Itchy Throat and Stuffy Nose
A good way to sooth an itchy throat is to drink some ginger tea or salabat. I usually drink two or three cups in a day and I often feel much better afterwards. Teas containing licorice root, Marshmallow root, honeysuckle flowers, barberry, eucalyptus, chamomile, or slippery elm can also soothe a sore and itchy throat.
If you aren’t into natural cures, try Decongestants. These medicines can reduce stuffy nose symptoms. You can start with over the counter antihistamines for treating itchy nose. These over the counter medicines temporarily relieve the symptoms of indoor and outdoor allergens, including runny nose, itchy, watery eyes, itchy nose and throat, stuffy nose, and facial pain.
Anti-inflammatory nasal sprays and nose drops (usually containing steroids), reduce inflammation in the delicate lining of the nose. Nasal sprays work best when they are used properly and the medication remains in the nose rather than draining down the back of the throat.
Exercise sometimes helps to ease a stuffy nose. Itchy throat is an irritating sensation in the throat that provokes desire to cough.
In case your itchy throat and stuffy nose cannot be cured through the above remedial measures, you should ask your doctor about the underlying cause of your irritation symptoms.