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Nobody escapes an occasional sore throat — which can mean a scratchy, burning, itchy, or dry feeling. Sore throats usually pass quickly and are most often caused by viruses that lead to a common cold. They rarely require medical attention; rest, hydration, good food, and the odd painkiller will rescue you. 

What do you do when your dry throat is either constant or it keeps coming back, though? A chronic dry throat is certainly an indication that something more is going on. You'll likely need to check in with a doctor to find out what, but in the meantime, here are some more common causes of a constantly dry throat. On the plus side, the conditions that lead to a chronic dry throat have other accompanying symptoms that may help you identify what is wrong. 

Allergies 

Airborne allergies — including seasonal allergies — lead to sneezing, itching, swollen, watery eyes, coughing, and sometimes a sore, dry, throat. Constant exposure to the allergen(s) in question explains the fact that your throat is dry often. Cockroaches, dust mites, pet dander, and molds are some common examples of allergens you can be exposed to year-round. 

Acid Reflux

Gastroesophageal reflux happens when your esophageal sphincter malfunctions, relaxing when it shouldn't be — in turn bringing some of the contents of your stomach back up. The most common symptom is heartburn, but believe it or not, not all peope with GER experience it. More general upper body pain, bad breath, problems with your teeth, vomiting, and problems with swallowing can all point to GER as well. It's hardly a surprise that all these acids cause a dry, sore, throat in some people as well. 

Smoking, being overweight or pregnant, and taking certain medications can all cause acid reflux.

Tonsillitis

Once removed fairly routinely, the tonsils actually do a pretty important job, acting as part of your immune system by protecting an area of the body that comes into contact with many microorganisms. They can also become inflamed, however, as the result of viral and bacterial infections (such as strep throat), and cause chronic symptoms. Although the exact nature of these symptoms will depend on the kind of tonsillitis you have, a constant dry throat isn't unusual. You're also likely to have trouble swallowing, bad breath, and swollen glands in your throat and neck. The tonsils themselves will be red and swollen, and may have white or yellow bits on them. 

Note that it's also possible to develop a tonsil abscess, which again leads to a severely sore throat. 

More Causes Of A Dry Throat

  • Postnasal drip is when fluid from your sinuses drains into your throat, causing a nasty feeling and potentially leaving your throat pretty sore. 
  • Mononucleosis, caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, can go on for a very long time and leave you fatigued, weak, feverish, and with a very sore throat. 
  • Constant exposure to environmental irritants like tobacco smoke and air pollution is another likely culprit for a chronically dry throat. 

What Can You Do About A Chronic Sore Or Dry Throat?

Many of the conditions we looked at, like postnasal drip and tonsillitis, often go away with a little time and self-care. You've presumably tried that and are still suffering, so it's time for a doctor. Treatment may involve anything from changing medication you're taking or taking steps to avoid allergens or irritants to having a tonsillectomy, depending on the cause of your dry throat. The moral of the story in this case is that treatment that works very much depends on a correct diagnosis, and because so many different things can be to blame, you need a doctor to get one. 

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