By our Smarty friends at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A.
Dry throats are common in winter and are very unpleasant. That’s why we want to talk about some of the ways you can help yourself and your children feel comfortable and healthy as we wind our way through the winter months.
What causes a dry throat?
Dry and itching throats have a number of causes, including dry air, breathing through your mouth, caffeine and alcohol consumption, smoking, allergies, acid reflux, certain medications like antidepressant and diuretics, and medical conditions like rheumatology diseases and incontinence.
Hydration is your friend
Water is one of the best ways to help your and your children’s throats. Running a humidifier is always helpful (just don’t run it around the clock. You don’t want mold to grow). Drinking water – eight to ten cups a day – is also beneficial.
“Most people’s perception of adequate hydration is a couple glasses of water a day,” CEENTA ENT doctor Michael Sicard, MD, said. “As long as your heart, lungs and kidneys are healthy, 64 to 80 ounces a day is a good target.”
Finally, the steam from a hot shower can help.
Warm liquids, like tea with honey, are also beneficial. Honey also has antibacterial effects, which can help treat coughs. Just make sure you don’t drink too much caffeine before bed or give your children more than they can handle. And if you don’t want to drink tea all day, a warm meal like soup can be great for the whole family.
A lozenge or two
You can also try sucking on throat lozenges, since they can increase saliva production and reduce dryness.
“Saliva is the lubricant of life,” Dr. Sicard said. “Without this lubricating film your voice, swallowing, and even perception of airflow are impacted.”
Lozenges are generally safe for children over the age of 6 if dosage recommendations are followed. Children between 4 and 6 can use them with a doctor’s approval. Children under the age of four shouldn’t use lozenges.
Gargling with salt water can help draw moisture from surrounding tissue, which in turn can lubricate your throat.
A blocked nose can cause dry throat problems for you and your children, since you’ll need to keep your mouths open to breathe. Blowing your nose or using nasal sprays can help with that. Children can use nasal sprays if the medicine is specifically for children.
Stay away from what makes you dry
Avoidance is a great technique, too. Adults should cut down on alcohol and caffeine, especially before bed. Quitting smoking is also very helpful. Finally, keep your house clean and dust-free, especially your air ducts.
Don’t ignore a dry throat if you and your children just aren’t getting better. If you have any concerns, please schedule an appointment with a CEENTA doctor today.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. Dr. Sicard practices in CEENTA’s Matthews office. To schedule an appointment with him or any of CEENTA’s ENT physicians, call 704-295-3000. You can also request an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.