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Why Does My Throat Hurt After Snorkeling?

If you’ve ever been snorkeling in the ocean, you may have experienced a sudden pain in your throat and difficulty swallowing. This is frequently accidental because while snorkelers need to be mindful of their air intake, they also need to keep water out of their mouths and noses. As a result, many people accidentally take in a large amount of salt water without realizing it, leading to throat pain or even an infection if not treated right away.

Reasons Why Snorkeling Can Cause Throat Pain

Snorkeling requires a lot of effort and concentration. If you have never snorkeled before, it can be easy to make mistakes that lead to salt water in your lungs, so many first-time snorkelers end up with painful throat pains afterward. There are four main reasons that snorkeling can lead to throat pain.


Before embarking on a snorkeling trip, you need to stay properly hydrated. It is easy to forget to drink enough water on vacation, and since the salty water you are swimming in weighs down your body and makes you feel less thirsty, it is easy to get dehydrated. If you do not drink enough water before snorkeling, it is easy for your body to become dry, leading to hyponatremia and other conditions that cause throat pain.


Snorkeling requires you to spend much time in water significantly colder than the air, which can be very painful on your throat if you are not adequately prepared. It is essential to wear a wetsuit or other appropriate cold-weather clothing when you go snorkeling so that your body has the protection it needs from the cold temperatures. If you are not prepared for the cold, it is easy to get hypothermia while swimming which can be very uncomfortable and lead to throat pain.


Before embarking on a snorkeling trip, you must get enough sleep the night before. When you go snorkeling, you must be alert to your surroundings and avoid obstacles in the water. If you do not get enough sleep, it can be easy for your body to become exhausted, and this can lead to hypoxia, often accompanied by throat pain and difficulty swallowing.


Many people make the mistake of drinking alcohol before snorkeling. While these drinks can make you feel more relaxed, they can also increase your body temperature and cause dehydration, two things that can lead to hypothermia. Additionally, drinking alcoholic beverages dehydrates, and as covered above, feeling thirsty while snorkeling can cause you to swallow more water than you intended because it disguises your need for hydration.

Infection From Equipment

Infections are another common cause of throat pain after snorkeling. First, the snorkel can carry bacteria and germs that can cause infections. If you have yet to adequately disinfect your equipment before using it, you are putting yourself at risk of getting an infection. Additionally, suppose you fail to rinse out your mouthpiece after using it or spit out any water that got trapped in there by accident. In that case, you can also acquire infections from saliva or saltwater trapped there.

Symptoms of a Sore Throat After Snorkeling

Suppose you have been snorkeling and experience pain in your throat or any of the following symptoms. In that case, you may be experiencing infection or other problems that need to be treated by a medical professional.

Sore Throat

A sore throat is the most common symptom of an infection caused by snorkeling. Suppose you experience a sore throat after snorkeling. In that case, seeing a doctor as soon as possible is essential, as this usually indicates that you need antibiotics or other medication to treat your condition and keep it from worsening.

Difficulty Swallowing

After snorkeling, it is easy for you to swallow large amounts of water accidentally. If you have been swimming and experience difficulty swallowing or if you have difficulty getting food down, this is a sign that you may be experiencing an infection caused by residual water in your throat or lungs. It is essential to ask your doctor about this symptom as it may mean you are experiencing hypoxia and need treatment immediately.

Swollen Throat

Snorkelers experience swelling in their throats after snorkeling because salt water puts extra pressure on the throat and this can lead to a sore throat. If your throat hurts after snorkeling, it is essential to see your doctor as soon as possible, as this may be a sign that your deep vein thrombosis has worsened or that you have an infection.

Treatment For A Sore Throat After Snorkeling

The best way to treat throat pain after snorkeling is to address the underlying cause. The most effective way to do this is by staying hydrated and avoiding illnesses associated with the cold and exhaustion. You may need to rest if you become exhausted from snorkeling, and you must stop drinking alcohol before swimming in the ocean.

Most doctors will recommend antibiotics to treat soft tissue infections and offer cough suppressants or decongestants for people with swollen throats. If you are experiencing a sore throat after snorkeling, you will likely also encounter other symptoms like difficulty swallowing or difficulty breathing that may require a more aggressive treatment plan.

Prevention of Sore Throats After Snorkeling

Most snorkelers experience some form of throat pain when they are snorkeling. While some people experience painful symptoms and may be able to ignore them, others find that the pain is so uncomfortable that it impacts how well they can enjoy their time in the ocean. There are several things you can do to alleviate your throat pain and ensure that you have a great snorkeling trip.

Drink More Water Beforehand

Drinking more water before entering the water is the easiest way to prevent throat pain after snorkeling. This will help keep your body hydrated, which will prevent your body from becoming dehydrated and causing hyponatremia, a significant cause of throat pain. Suppose you stay adequately hydrated before you go snorkeling. In that case, it will also help to keep your body from getting exhausted during your trip and make it easier for you to enjoy the snorkeling experience.

Rinse Out Your Mouthpiece

Before putting on your snorkel, make sure that you rinse out your mouthpiece thoroughly so that there is no water or saliva in it. Saliva contains bacteria that can cause infections if the mouthpiece gets trapped in your mouth while swimming. You can get an infection if you fail to rinse out your mouthpiece.

Get A Sore Throat Shot

Some people find that a sore throat after snorkeling is caused by an infection that needs to be treated with antibiotics. If this is the case, getting a sore throat shot from your doctor can help to relieve your pain and allow you to enjoy your snorkeling trip. Some doctors will treat infections before you go snorkeling so that you can enjoy the journey without worrying about getting sick.

Find A Warm Place To Rest

If your throat hurts after snorkeling, you may want to find a warm place to rest for a few minutes. Your body needs to be generous to stay hydrated and keep your throat from becoming sore. If you are experiencing a lot of pain, it is best to find a warm place not in direct sunlight and provide you with some eye shades or something else to make it easier to rest.

As you have fun snorkeling in the ocean, you may find that your throat starts to get sore and uncomfortable. However, you do not have to let this stop you from enjoying your day at the beach. By taking some precautions, you can help keep yourself from getting infections or other health problems that can cause an uncomfortable experience for you after snorkeling and potentially ruin your trip.

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