What Causes Itchy Ears and Throat?

Itchy throat, ears or eyes are quite common symptoms that most people would experience some time in their life. In most cases, these might indicate allergies of some sort. Often similar symptoms will strike the nose also because the respiratory system is the front line of defense for the body and, when it gets exposed to potential invaders, it will react with defenses of inflammation. There can be other causes for these symptoms, however. Inflammation and itching can accompany exposure to seriously harmful chemicals. Bacteria, fungi, and viruses may cause symptoms too. People with allergies are more sensitive to all reactive chemicals and pathogens.

Possible Reasons Why You Have Itchy Throat and Ears

Itchiness of throat and ears, though not life-threatening, can be quite difficult to tolerate. Usually, the condition is a result of some allergies, but it can also be caused by other conditions such as cold or drug interaction.

1. Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is a condition which occurs if one is exposed to allergens (anything which causes allergies). The eyes, nose, and throat become inflamed and there can be itching and pain. What you are experiencing is symptomatic irritation which can be caused by exposure to any of the following:

  • Allergens such as molds and fungi or animal dander and pollen
  • Smoke from cigarettes
  • Pollutants or chemicals in the air
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Weather changes
  • Chemical fumes and odors

Histamine is a chemical the body releases in response to irritation from chemicals and allergens. The result is inflammation. Tissues swell, itch and produce mucous as a response.


You may experience some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty smelling or smelling unusual odors
  • Itchy throat and ears or nose, skin, and other areas of the body
  • Nasal discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Tearing of the eyes

Additional symptoms include:

  • Coughs
  • Congestion of the nose
  • Clogging of your ears and a lack of sense of smell
  • Eye puffiness and sore throat
  • Darkening underneath your eyes
  • Irritability and fatigue
  • Headache
  • Difficulty thinking and problems with memory

2. Food Allergies

Roughly 12 million people in the United States have issues with food allergens. Sometimes these allergies can even be fatal due to profound histamine release. Symptoms of a food allergy may include skin rashes, hives, or itching and swelling. The only way to avoid this issue is by avoiding the foods which cause the allergy. Anaphylactic shock is a final allergy syndrome which can lead to death.

3. Drug Reactions

There are many medications which a person can have allergic reactions to. Typically, these drugs will be antibiotics, anticonvulsants, and sulfa drugs. Reactions can include itching, skin rashes, hives, breathing difficulties and swelling of mucous membranes or certain parts of the body. It can be difficult to tell the difference between a drug allergy and an adverse reaction, so it is advisable to check with a physician immediately.

4. Common Colds

Usually, a cold is not a big deal. You will experience the itching throat and ears with clogged sinuses and running nose. Symptoms will improve. Colds last for short periods of time, generally two to three days.

How to Deal with Itchy Throat and Ears

The treatments for itchiness of throat, ears and noses depend on the underlying causes. If your symptoms are due to common cold, it may go away several days without any treatments. However, if allergy is the case, then measures should be taken to help the condition.

1. For Allergic Rhinitis

You can control the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, but there is no cure.

  • Allergy medications: Your physician may advise the use of medications for treating allergies of the respiratory system. Typical prescriptions include antihistamines, corticosteroids, decongestants, and medications which inhibit leukotrienes.
  • Treating underlying causes: Other inflammatory issues can contribute to symptoms of rhinitis. Eczema and asthma will worsen nasal allergies. Inflammation tends to be generalized in the body, so other diseases could be making your symptoms worse.
  • Immunotherapy (allergy shots): Your physician will, by injection, expose you to small amounts of the substance to which you are allergic to and gradually desensitize you to the allergen. This therapy is highly effective and practical, especially for allergies to dander from cats, dogs or other pets and pollen allergies.
  • Sinus rinsing: Rinsing out the sinuses with a distilled, sterile solution can be an effective home treatment. You can get a Neti pot, which is widely available in health food stores and pharmacies, or use a squeeze bottle. But either way, make sure to use distilled or thoroughly filtered water and clean any nasal irrigation device you choose to use.
  • Stay away from allergens: It might be impossible to avoid allergens completely, but the symptoms of itchy throat and ears can be greatly reduced if you stay away from the allergens in the table below.


How to Prevent

Pollen and molds

  • Restrict outdoor airflow into the home.
  • Be sure you regularly change the filter in your air conditioning and heating system.
  • Use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters in rooms.
  • Avoid hanging laundry outdoors.
  • Pollen counts are generally higher in the morning time, so it is advised to limit activity outdoors during this time.
  • Reduce indoor humidity by using a dehumidifier.

Dust mites

  • You can kill dust mites with certain insecticides.
  • HEPA filters used in the home can also help.
  • Be sure to thoroughly wash blankets and sheets in hot water.
  • Use a dehumidifier.


  • Be sure to clean up after preparing food and don't leave food out in the open.
  • Repair any water pipes or faucets.
  • Ask a pest exterminating service about options.

Pet dander

  • Don't allow pets onto beds and furniture. Dogs can be unruly and dirty, so you will want to keep their location behavior in check and bathe them regularly.
  • Try to keep pets outside.

2. For Food Allergy

Stay away from foods you are allergic to. If you get symptoms of a minor allergy, ask your primary care physician if you can use over-the-counter antihistamines or if something else is better for you. Consult your doctor about having an epinephrine pen available to you for allergic reactions which are serious.

3. For Adverse Reactions to Drugs

Many people can have an adverse reaction to medications. This is largely due to the fact that they do not belong in your body and your system can overreact. It is very rare that these adverse reactions are allergy related. Anticonvulsant drugs and antibiotics are common culprits. Even over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin can cause adverse effects. One potentially fatal adverse reaction common with anticonvulsants and antibiotics is Stephen Johnson Syndrome. If you develop any type of skin rash while on these medications, seek medical attention.

4. For the Common Cold

The common cold can be a burden on your body while causing symptoms like itchy throat and ears, but this virus can be easily managed. Staying hydrated is crucial. Drink plenty of water or even lemon water. The lemons provide electrolytes. You can add honey to make it more pleasing and this will help with congestion. Do not drink anything with caffeine or alcohol when you have a cold.

For sore throat, you can use salt water. Simply gargle with it and it will help shrink the tissues and combat infection. Meanwhile, the ingestion of warm liquids such as chicken broth, vegetable broth, or even apple juice warmed up into a nice cider would be helpful.

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