Dry Throat, Anyone?

Maybe because it’s officially fall, I’ve caught kennel cough from my dog or I recently touched something dirty in the subway.  Either way, I’ve been fighting a cold for the past week.  For the last 48 hours, dry throat has been ruining my life.  I’m not sure if there is a medical term for it, but my sister and I have always referred to this late cold symptom as “dry throat.”  Maybe it’s a genetic condition for Becker women.  We often exchange our worst dry throat stories to see who had it worse.

For those lucky people out there not familiar with dry throat, it goes something like this:  On day 6 or 7 of a nasty cold, the point at which you’re starting to feel like you may actually breathe again but your voice is still nasally and scratchy, you are ripe for dry throat.  You may even have some lingering phlegm that makes you cough.  You’ll go to work and/or about your life normally because the previous days have left you a bit behind in almost everything.  You’ll be eager to catch up with people you isolated, mostly because you had tissues shoved up your nose for the past few days.  Someone will call you on the phone and you’ll be chatting away.  Suddenly, five minutes into you describing the amount of Tylenol, aloe infused tissues and Mucinex you have used up, your throat closes up.  You try to talk but feel like you’re going to gag.  You cough instead, trying to get rid of the gagging sensation.  Your friend on the phone asks if you’re ok but you can’t answer because you’re half coughing, half gagging.  If you’re lucky enough to have water in front of you, you chug, chug, chug – but 9 times out of 10 you never have water around at that exact moment.  The next best thing is a cough drop but that also seems to go missing.  You hang up on your friend because you can’t speak.  You’ll make up an excuse later.  Or you put the phone down and cough into your hands until you actually gag a little.  That’s the climax of the whole thing and while absolutely horrifying, usually clears the throat dryness.  You cough some more for the next few minutes.  People will ask if you’re choking because they’ll hear you from yards away and because your face is now the color of a tomato and there are tears coming down your face.

Two days ago this happened in my office when a senior manager of my group came in to ask me about my weekend. I was talking about Wally and how we need a dog sitter for an upcoming weekend in September.  She was asking if I had spoken to so-and-so down the hall who had a dog walker in New York City and perhaps that person could help. I was mid-sentence when the choking happened.  The words would not come out.  I coughed uncontrollably for a minute straight.  She asked if I was choking.  I responded yes, as if I was kidding, so she’d know I wasn’t really choking but was still coughing.  My face was bright red, the tears came streaming.  I felt the gagging sensation and fought it.  Humiliated, I ran out the door and into the small kitchenette across from my office which contained a water cooler.  I filled a cup of water and downed it will small gulps.  The coughing fit continued.  The senior manager stood in the doorway and continued to talk about her weekend, clearly having never suffered dry throat in her life.  I thought about continuing to talk so that her last memory of me was not a gagging one, but didn’t want to risk a recurrence.

This morning, I was in an early morning meeting when it happened.  It is day 7 of my cold and the lack of sleep (caught a 6:23 AM train) combined with the download of information I had to provide on the call was a lethal combination.  This time, however, I was better prepared.  I brought in a hot tea with “Throat Coat” which is this awesome caffeine free tea made up of all natural herbs and healing stuff that is supposed to be good for a bad throat.  It definitely helped, even though the coughing could not be controlled.  Plus I thought that having herbal tea at a meeting could make me appear more lady like while nagging, repeated coughs ripped through me every 10 minutes.  Ever try to stifle a cough for a two hour meeting?  It’s really hard.  I hate being the cougher in a meeting.  You know there are germaphobes present thinking they are getting infected at the very moment you cough.  This stresses you out, which makes you cough more.  One cough leads to a second, which leads to a third and before you know it, someone is asking if you have bronchitis.  The tea is helpful in containing the coughing before it led to the gagging and probably the end of my employment, thankfully.

When I got home from work today, I started telling The Husband about my day only to be slammed with an additional bout of dry throat.  He thought it was hilarious that I talked myself into a coughing, gagging frenzy.  So there I was, dry throating in my own living room with a laughing husband and a dog that needed to go out.  Have we not had any advancements in the common cold over the last century?  I mean yes, there are loads of cold medicines to try, but I want a pill you can take that instantly makes you healthy.  And there needs to be an immediate cure for dry throat.  Any tips?  Have any of you experienced dry throat?  If so, help your genetic relation out and let’s share some dry throat killing concepts.  Together, we can avoid running out of conversations, red-faced and teary eyed, coughing up a storm while fighting the urge to gag.





  1. You’d be surprised. There is a medical term for everything. It’s like learning a new language. There are a ton of advancements also. Just not any that the medical community is promoting. One such advancement is garlic. (Of course it’s benefits have been known forever, but recently proven through clinical studies). It boosts the body’s natural defenses and either prevents colds altogether or if you get one, it cuts the time in half and makes the symptoms mild.

    Now that you are nearing the end, I would say you should use something like chamomile tea a couple of times per day. It tastes like flowers in liquid form, but it’s just fine if you sweeten it with sugar. I might add that sugar lowers the body’s defenses though. But whatever helps you get it down. Honey coats the throat so swallow some before bed and upon waking up. If you like the taste of virgin unrefined coconut oil (I do because I love coconuts) then you should use it instead of honey because it would work wonders on whatever you have. You most likely have pharyngitis.

    Have you ever thought about going to see a Naturopathic/ Herbal doctor in conjunction with your other doctors? They are very knowledgeable people. Just as knowledgeable about pathology as a doctor, but they have a different approach to treating illness. There are a ton of remedies and you could look them up yourself, but an herbal doctor would know the ones that work the best and when to use them. There’s an herb for everything.

  2. Hope it’s really a cold and not an allergy to Wally!!!

  3. How much are you drinking per day? If you’re sick, and potentially taking medication that will dehydrate you, then upping your water intake will be essential. Most people are running around, slightly dehydrated. Assuming that there’s no significant medical history, consider drinking at least three liters of water per day. A little more is o.k., but don’t go overboard….

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