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An abnormal change in your voice coupled with a dry and scratchy throat is commonly referred to as a “hoarse throat,” a condition that can range from a mild irritation to something requiring attention from a medical professional. Knowing what to try first can keep a hoarse throat from becoming a serious concern.
What Causes a Hoarse Throat?
The raspy, harsh voice that’s characteristic of a hoarse throat is usually caused by irritation of the vocal cords. The voice box, or larynx, is made up of two v-shaped bands of muscles that may become inflamed as a result of some type of irritation or trauma. Possible causes of hoarseness may include:
- Severe cold with a persistent cough
- Laryngitis; an inflammation of the voice box
- Strained vocal cords
- Allergic reactions
- Viral pharyngitis; a sore throat caused by a virus
- Abnormal growths (polyps) on vocal cords
What Can I Try?
Honey is one of the most common home remedies for hoarseness. Try two tablespoons of raw, organic honey a few times a day or a glass of warm water with a few tablespoons of honey and a little bit of black pepper. Salt has antiseptic properties that may help ease hoarseness. Try a salt water gargle 2-3 times a day. Since dryness is a common contributing factor of a hoarse throat, steam treatment with a pot of boiling water mixed with a few drops of chamomile, lavender or other essential oils may be effective. Also consider the following remedies:
- Over-the-counter cough suppressants
- Periodic exposure to humidified air or sleeping in a room with a humidifier
- Medications to control GERD (gastroesophageal reflux) or allergies, of either of these is an underlying cause
- Voice rest to prevent further irritation or injury
Normally, a hoarse throat will go away on its own with some rest and common home remedies. If such DIY treatments aren’t working or your symptoms are getting progressively worse and lasting for more than a few weeks, it’s time to see an ENT for diagnosis and treatment.