Is your throat dry, scratchy, or itchy? Is it painful to swallow? These are signs of a sore throat. You may think you’re coming down with a viral infection. But if you’re not feeling sick and don’t have a fever, but continue to wake up with a sore throat, there might be other things causing it. Therefore, you may want to consider some other possible causes for your sore throat before rushing to the doctor.
What Could Be Causing This Problem?
It’s important to look to your environment and your lifestyle for clues as to what’s going on. For one, if you were out singing or talking in a loud club the night before you may have simply strained your vocal cords. If you have seasonal allergies such as hay fever, you may notice that you wake up with persistent scratchy or sore throats several months out of the year. If your bedroom is particularly dry, especially during the colder months, this could be another reason you wake up with sore throats.
You May Be Facing Your Fan The Wrong Way
An early morning sore throat may be due to dehydration. According to WebMD, because we’re not consuming any liquids for numerous consecutive hours while snoozing, the result can be a sore throat upon waking. Even if you’re someone who keeps water by your bedside, dehydration can alternatively occur from excessive nighttime sweating or from certain medications that induce frequent urination.
Trying to keep your bedroom cool and ventilated? The circulation of dry air from a fan or open window may be to blame for your sore throat. “Cool air from an open window can help people breathe better unless the air is very dry,” Dr. Michael Benninger, chairman of the Head & Neck Institute, told the Cleveland Clinic. “The most common reasons for a sore throat in the morning are a dry environment, especially in winter …” Therefore, if you’re someone who uses a fan to get that dry wintertime air moving at night, Dr. Benninger suggests keeping the fan directed away from you to avoid exposure to direct airflow.
Acid Reflux Or Snoring May Be Causing Your Sore Throat
If you have a partner prone to snoring who wakes up complaining of a dry throat in the morning, snoring may actually be the culprit. According to WebMD, when snoring, the throat muscles open up. As oxygen makes its way through the windpipe, the surrounding tissue vibrates. All of that vibrating, coupled with open mouth breathing, can give you a sore throat come morning.
Interestingly, if you’re someone who experiences acid reflux, you may also find yourself waking up with a sore throat. The side effects of acid reflux are often worse than those experienced during the daytime. To help avoid the backup of stomach acids into the throat, MedicalNewsToday suggests elevating your head 6-8 inches while sleeping. Try to hold off on lying down in bed within 2-3 hours following a meal.
If your morning sore throat has not gone away after a week, even after making some of these recommended changes, be sure to speak with your doctor (via WebMD). This is particularly important if your sore throat is accompanied by fever, trouble breathing, lumps, bloody phlegm, or saliva.
When to See A Doctor?
If you experience recurring or persistent sore throats it’s always a good idea to see your ENT doctor for a proper diagnosis so you know how to best treat your symptoms. Since some infections such as strep can be dangerous to both kids and adults, it’s important to know when to come in for treatment.
- You should see an ENT doctor right away if:
- You are having trouble swallowing or breathing
- You have extremely painful or swollen lymph nodes
- Your sore throat is accompanied by a high fever
- Your sore throat persists for more than a week
- You have trouble sleeping due to swallowing or breathing issues
If you are dealing with a persistent or recurring scratchy or sore throat it’s important that you consult an ENT doctor to find out what’s going on. Many of the conditions above warrant treatment to prevent further complications, so don’t delay getting the treatment you need.