by Faith Goan, The University of Texas at Austin College of Pharmacy, and Dr. Marc Goldstein, MD, Curist Medical Advisor
Curist delivers FDA-approved medicines to your door at half the price of traditional brands. We hope everyone stays safe and healthy this summer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have stated that most people will experience mild illness from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and should be able to recover in isolation at home. However, with insufficient testing available for coronavirus, many people are struggling to distinguish between symptoms potentially caused by coronavirus versus other conditions. One of the most commonly searched symptoms is itchy throat, and the post below will analyze that symptom so that you can make a more informed guess as to what you’re experiencing.
According to the CDC, the most severe symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are the following:
- Fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher)
- Shortness of breath
- Dry cough (No mucus coming up)
Other coronavirus symptoms can overlap with flu-like symptoms, such as:
- Sore Throat
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Body or muscle aches
- Nasal congestion
Itchy throat is not typically identified as a symptom of coronavirus. Although an itchy throat has not been called out as a coronavirus symptom, how can you determine if that discomfort in your throat is a sore throat caused by coronavirus versus an itchy throat with a less alarming cause?
One of the main causes of an itchy throat is from allergies. Allergens, such as spring tree and grass pollen, can trigger symptoms in the throat particularly an “itchy” sensation. If you find yourself rubbing your tongue against the roof of your mouth to get at your itch (often making a “clucking” sound), that’s typically allergy-related itchy throat. This is often associated with other symptoms from allergies, like itchy eyes, itchy nose, and sneezing.
On the other hand, a sore throat from a viral or bacterial infection can cause you to feel pain, scratchiness or irritation in the throat. Sore throats are usually accompanied with a fever (especially in the case of coronavirus) and can cause one to feel pain in the throat with or without swallowing, though people typically feel the soreness when they do swallow. In contrast, the itchy throat from allergy is typically always present, not just when swallowing.
Sometimes, people with allergies will experience mucus in the back of your throat from post-nasal drip. With that mucus buildup, people often try to clear their throat. In contrast, people with sore throats often do not try to clear their throat as it causes more pain.
What If I Can’t Tell Whether I Have Itchy Throat or Sore Throat and Am Concerned About Coronavirus?
For itchy throats caused by allergies, antihistamines relieve itchy throats and are widely available without a prescription. If you are experiencing a mildly itchy throat that typically would not merit a doctor visit, an easy way to give yourself peace of mind is to try an antihistamine for a couple days and keep a log of your symptoms. Allergy sufferers will typically begin to experience some symptom relief from antihistamines usually within 24 hours.
Pay attention to your other symptoms. If you have other symptoms often associated with coronavirus, especially fever, then it’s unlikely your symptoms are just from allergies.
You can purchase an FDA-approved, non-drowsy antihistamine from Curist, which can be delivered straight to your door.
What About Drug-Free Relief of My Itchy Throat?
There are a few natural remedies that may help with an itchy throat, including:
- Hot tea with honey
- Warm salt-water gargle
Please note that these are not treatments or cures to coronavirus or allergies, but may help alleviate your itchy throat symptoms.
How Can I Protect Myself and Others From Coronavirus?
Although some people may not be experiencing symptoms, it is important that we all practice the following precautions:
- Wash your hands with water and soap for at least 20 seconds. If soap is not available, you can use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- COVID-19 can be spread through droplets that travel through the air each time a person coughs or sneezes, so it is important to practice social distancing (6 feet).
- Refrain from touching your eyes, mouth and nose. Even if you’ve washed your hands, make it a habit not to touch your face.
- Allergies can cause you to rub your eyes and nose unwittingly, and this could increase the spread of coronavirus Take Curist’s two-minute quiz to find the right treatment for you. See here.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, like door and cabinet handles, kitchen counters, cell phones, and credit cards.
For more information about novel coronavirus, please visit the CDC website. As always, if you are not feeling well, please reach out to your medical provider or call 911.