Laryngitis is a medical condition when the larynx or voice box becomes inflamed and swollen. Many of the causes of laryngitis such as common virus infections or too much use of your voice are not serious. But others are. Many of the serious causes for this condition are a cause for concern such as laryngeal cancer. When laryngitis persists, it may indicate more than a significant medical problem. If a laryngitis disorder stems from viral or bacterial infections, it can be contagious. If the laryngitis is from the overuse of voice or laryngeal cancer, it cannot be contracted by contact.
Most common symptoms of laryngitis include hoarseness, feeling a tickle in the throat on account of reflux laryngitis, which may also result in the urge to constantly clear the throat. Fever, cough, congestion…there are many facets to laryngitis. Often, laryngitis develops in addition to or post a sore throat. Even after the infection has resolved, laryngitis lingers for some weeks.
The voice is produced when air from the lungs is pushed past the elastic muscles side by side called vocal folds or vocal cords. This causes sufficient pressure for vibrating. When the tumor interferes with normal vocal fold vibrations, it leads to hoarseness, a common symptom of recurrent respiratory papillomatosis or RRP. The tumors block the airway passage and lead to difficulty in breathing. As tumors grow fast, young children with the disease may find it tough to breathe while sleeping or face a problem while swallowing. Children and adults may experience hoarseness, chronic coughing or even breathing issues. Symptoms are more severe in children than in adults. Some children may experience relief or remission of the disease when puberty commences.
Sometimes laryngitis can be an indication of a serious condition like laryngeal cancer. Many symptoms can cause a person to see a doctor. This includes high fever or the release of green/yellow phlegm. Coughing up blood, or being unable to drink liquids, or have a history of breathing and throat problems as well as symptoms that last 2-3 weeks despite resting the voice are other problem areas you need to watch out for.
Weight loss, associated swelling in the neck, throat pain or discomfort are some of the other signals you need help.
Children are different from adults, as they are more likely to become infected with different microbes. If a child has a hoarse voice, with or in the absence of symptoms of virus such as a low-grade fever, less than 100.5 F/38 degrees C, cough, muscle aches, nasal congestion than the treatment is the same as that needed for adults. If a child has a fever, a sore throat, won’t eat or drink, or less than adequate consumption of water, you need to take the child to see the doctor.
But for laryngitis patients who are facing a problem breathing or feeling if the throat is closing, inability to swallow, drool or need to sit upright to breathe, immediate medical care is important. In case a child is drooling or has any difficulty in breathing such a whistling noise and an obstruction, it is critical to get to a hospital.
What Causes Laryngitis and What Is the Larynx?
Laryngitis is a vocal cord inflammation located in the larynx or voice box. This is the voice box that causes ease of speaking, shouting, whispering, and singing. The larynx comprises a cartilage skeleton which contains the vocal cords. The cords are covered by a mucus lining. Within the larynx, muscles adjust the position, tension, and shape of the vocal cords, permitting the voice to make different sounds like shouting, singing, and whispering. Any change in air flow across the vocal cords impacts the quality and the voice of the sound.
Located at the junction of the mouth and trachea, the larynx is where the air enters the lungs. There is a flap covering the area called the epiglottis. The epiglottis prevents food and saliva from entering the air pipe while swallowing. Laryngitis is a voice box and vocal cord inflammation, causing a person to lose the voice and become hoarse. The voice becomes gravely and difficult to hear as well.
Laryngitis is the swelling of the voice box from irritation, excessive use or infection. In the larynx, the vocal cords are found in the form of folds of mucous membrane covering muscle and cartilage. Generally, the vocal cords open and close in a smooth way, forming sounds through vibration and movement.
With laryngitis, the vocal cords undergo inflammation or irritation. This causes swelling and distortion of sounds by air passing over them. Consequently, the voice sounds hoarse and becomes almost difficult to detect.
Laryngitis is short-lived or acute and long-lasting or chronic depending on the causes and symptoms. Most cases of laryngitis are triggered by short-term strain or even a viral infection and heal on their own. However, persistent hoarseness can point to more chronic and serious conditions.
Many times, individuals can be evaluated through a complete medical history and a physical exam. The doctor will pay attention to the affected patient’s ear, neck, nose, and throat. If the symptoms are severe, especially in children, a neck or chest X-ray may be ordered.
Doctors may examine further using a tiny scope that is inserted via the nose after numbing the nostrils and the nose. This procedure occurs within a few minutes and can yield vital data, especially with respect to the status of recurrent laryngeal nerve exerting control in the movement of the vocal folds or vocal cords. More so in children then in adults, blood work may be ordered such as a complete blood cell count. Swelling in the voice box, also called the larynx leads to laryngitis.
This organ is located in the upper part of the neck at the posterior of the throat. Infections such as cold, flu, bronchitis can further spur the swelling. The problem can be as simple as overuse. But inflammation is the result, though the problem may go away on its own.
Laryngitis is often related to illnesses like cold, flu, or bronchitis. Symptoms range across a sore throat, low-level fever, difficulty speaking and hoarseness while communicating. Then, there is also trouble speaking, a dry cough and a constant urge to clear the throat. Swollen glands are yet another problem. One gets a greater chance of it if they are prone to colds, flu, bronchitis, or a career as a public speaker! So, laryngitis may also arise from professional compulsions.
Though one is usually related to a virus, there are ongoing or chronic forms of the illness, brought on by smoking and alcohol abuse too. Here are the common causes of laryngitis:
Acid reflux plays a vital role. Strong acids can travel from the stomach into the throat and all the way to the larynx. This irritates the voice box and ensures that the voice is lost. GERD also leads to a chronic cough and reflux laryngitis. People can be aware of acid and experience water brash – a sour taste within the mouth. Repetitive spilling of the acid within vocal cords leads to chemical irritation and results in cord inflammation. This comes in the way of vibration and sound generation. This reflux also causes a persistent cough.
Chronic irritation of vocal cords also causes nodules or polyps to form on vocal cords impacting the ability to vibrate causing chronic hoarseness.
Other causes of chronic cases of laryngitis are allergies, bacterial infection, thrush and other bacterial infections, injuries such as a hit to the throat, chemical fume inhalation, and a sinusitis disease. Certain health conditions like laryngeal cancer can cause this condition as well. Causes of laryngitis include the common cold, excessive use of the vocal cords by shouting, singing or talking or even various upper respiratory tract infections. GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease causes reflux laryngitis. Another cause for laryngitis is smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke or exposure to polluted air. Laryngitis is contagious only when caused by an infection. Common signs and symptoms of laryngitis include loss of voice, throat pain, and hoarseness.
Additional symptoms and signs of laryngitis in adults include dry, sore throat, pain accompanied by difficulty in swallowing, and a feeling of fullness in the neck or throat. If the laryngitis is caused by infection, the affected person can also suffer from fever, swollen glands/swollen lymph nodes. In infants or kids, laryngitis may be linked to croup and a hoarse barky cough accompanied by fever may result.
Laryngitis is considered chronic when symptoms and signs last longer than three weeks. Chronic laryngitis is caused by GERD, smoking, exposure to second-hand smoke, alcohol usage or air pollution. Chronic inflammation due to laryngitis leads to the formation of polyps or nodules on the vocal cords. Treatment of laryngitis is usually symptomatic with voice rest, humidified air and natural or home remedies for relief of symptoms. If the symptoms and signs of laryngitis last for more than 3 weeks or continue to occur, make an appointment with a doctor.
Laryngitis complications from GERD include chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, and vocal cord paralysis. A number of conditions cause laryngitis. These can be broken down into two different types which result from different factors.
Common causes of laryngitis include is a viral infection, similar to the flu or a common cold. Overusing the voice can also cause the larynx to become inflamed. Examples of overuse include loud shouting or singing. In rare cases, acute laryngitis results from diphtheria, a bacterial infection. Many individuals in the US have received diphtheria immunization. Viral infections similar to those causing a cold are essential for causing this condition. Vocal strain can result due to loud shouting or overuse of your voice. Bacterial infections such as diphtheria, though rare, is in large degree due to increasing vaccination rates.
Laryngitis that lasts beyond three weeks is called chronic laryngitis. This is caused by exposure to irritants across time. Chronic laryngitis can lead to vocal cord strains, injuries or growths in the vocal cords, polyps, or nodules. These injuries are caused by a variety of conditions:
- Inhaled irritants such as chemical fumes, smoke or allergens are one reason.
- Acid reflux also is known as GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease.
- Chronic sinusitis
- Excessive alcohol usage
- Habitual overuse of the voice
Less common instances of chronic laryngitis may result from bacterial or fungal infections, infections with parasites. Other serious causes of laryngitis include cancer, vocal cord paralysis which results from injury, a stroke, a lung tumor or various other health conditions. Bowing of vocal cords in the old age are another factor at play.
Chronic laryngitis is caused by a lot of conditions such as :
- Acid reflux: a condition where contents and stomach acids are brought into the throat.
- Bacterial, fungal or parasitic infection.
- Chronic Sinusitis.
- Excessive coughing
- Exposure to inhaled irritants like toxic fumes or allergens.
- Heavy amount of alcohol intake.
- Habitual misuse or over-usage of the voice
- Smoking such as secondhand smoke
- Use of asthma inhalers or other inhaled steroid medicines
Risk Factors for Laryngitis
Risk factors for laryngitis include having a respiratory disease like sinusitis, cold or bronchitis. Exposure to irritating substances like excessive alcohol, cigarette smoke, workplace chemicals or stomach acid can be a factor. Overusing the voice by speaking too much, too loud or shouting or singing can also induce this condition.
In certain causes of laryngitis, caused by infection, the condition may spread to other parts of the respiratory tract.
Specifically, laryngitis takes place when the vocal box or vocal cords suffer inflammation due to overuse, infection or irritation. Laryngitis can take place when it comes to acute or short-term conditions lasting less than 3 weeks. It can even be chronic or long-term lasting more than 3 weeks.
Some conditions can cause inflammation that results in laryngitis. Viral infection, environmental factors, and bacterial diseases can all trigger laryngitis.
Acute laryngitis is a short-term condition caused by overusing the vocal cords. It can be triggered by an infection. Here’s how it works: treating the underlying condition causes laryngitis to heal.
Symptoms of Laryngitis
The most common causes of laryngitis include:
- Weakened voice
- Loss of voice
- Dryness or hoarseness of the throat
- Constant or minor throat irritation
- A dry cough
These mild and light symptoms can be treated by giving the voice a break. Drinking H20 or noncaffeinated beverage is good throat lubricants.
Infants and children can also pick up this medical condition when they are around infected children. Both bacterial and viral infections can spread from one child to another. Laryngitis also develops if a child yells or sings a lot. This causes bumps to form on vocal cords.
If the child’s voice is hoarse or weak, or their throat is hurting, resting their voice is a must. It is essential to have them drink fluids to rest and ease the throat and eliminate viral laryngitis.
Laryngitis usually goes away in two weeks on its own.
If a child’s symptoms don’t improve or worsen, resorting to medical treatment is essential. A doctor can assess if other factors can cause laryngitis or the antibiotics for bacterial infection are required.
Other symptoms of laryngitis include a runny nose, throat pain, nasal congestion, sneezing, fever, and cough.
In some cases, the symptoms of the disease last less than a couple of weeks and caused by a viral infection. Laryngitis symptoms can also be serious or long-lasting. Hoarseness, weak voice or voice loss, raw and tickling sensation of the throat, dry soreness, or a dry coughing are some other symptoms.
Acute cases of laryngitis can be handled with self-care such as resting the voice and drinking a lot of fluids. Using your voice strenuously during acute laryngitis can damage vocal cords. If the laryngitis symptoms last more than a couple of weeks, medical care is needed.
If one has trouble breathing, coughing up blood, a fever that refuses to go away, trouble swallowing or even increasing pain, you need to seek medical attention immediately.
In the case of pediatric patients, medical care is needed if there is noisy, high pitched breathing sound called stridor. If your child drools more than ordinarily or has trouble swallowing or difficulty breathing, or even fever higher than 103 degrees F, medical care is critical.
The signs and symptoms can also indicate croup or inflammation of the larynx and the airways just underneath it.
Croup can be treated at home, though severe symptoms require medical attention. These symptoms also include epiglottis which is an inflammation of the tissue acting as a lid or epiglottis to cover the trachea or windpipe. This can be fatal for the patient.
The larynx also referred to as the voice box, is where the vocal cords are located. It is essential for breathing, talking and swallowing. Vocal cords are two small folds of mucous membrane covering muscle and cartilage that vibrate to produce sound.
In a 2013 study of US citizens, over 3 in every 1000 cases were of chronic for patients suffering this condition. It is held that 21 percent of the population may develop chronic laryngitis in their lifetime. Laryngitis is not serious and in most cases, it can be resolved without treatment in just under 7 days.
Viral infections such as cold are a common cause of laryngitis. But chronic laryngitis is triggered by lifestyle factors, like exposure to irritation. Acute laryngitis is treated with self-care measures and rest. In cases of chronic laryngitis, a longstanding symptom is swelling/inflammation. Vocal cords are strained and develop growths like nodules and polyps.
Laryngitis causes a lot of symptoms like hoarseness, speech difficulties, low fever, throat pain, frequent throat clearing, and persistent cough.
The symptoms progress suddenly and become severe over the next 2-3 days. If symptoms are for longer, the case is chronic and requires serious medication and treatment.
Laryngitis is related to other illnesses. These include conditions like tonsillitis, cold, flu or throat infection. A headache, gland swelling, runny nose, fatigue, and malaise or pain while swallowing need to be combated. Symptoms need to be resolved without treatment, by the 7th day of infection. A doctor needs to be seen if symptoms persist for longer or present more severely.
Common symptoms indicating a condition similar to laryngitis include lesions, muscle tension dysphonia, vocal paralysis and much more. Some symptoms are serious and underlying issues need to be resolved. These symptoms include coughing up blood, difficulty swallowing, deep pain or fever that refuses to leave.
Laryngitis impacts the voice box and vocal cords. They also perform a laryngoscopy for magnification of the voice box and easy viewing. During the laryngoscopy, the doctor sticks a flexible, thin tube with a microscopic camera through the nose or mouth. The following signs of laryngitis occur irritation, redness, voice box lesions, widespread swelling, vocal cord swelling and much more. If the doctor observes a lesion or another suspicious mass, a biopsy may be ordered to rule out the possibility of throat cancer. At the time of biopsy, a small amount of the tissue may be removed so it can be examined within the lab.
Symptoms in Adults
If the cause of laryngitis is infectious, impacted individuals have symptoms of a viral infection. Upper respiratory tract conditions such as cold, sore throat, dry cough, swollen lymph nodes, painful swallowing, and fever or a feeling of fullness in the throat or your neck, voice loss, and a running nose are some other signs.
Symptoms in Infant and Children
In infants or children with croup, breathing becomes tough. As a child makes the effort to inhale through a narrow and swollen larynx, the cartilage collapses. It’s like breathing through a straw. As one age, the cartilage becomes stiffer and one can withstand deeply indrawn breaths. In children, however, the cartilage is weaker and each child may have to work harder for inhalation. The maturation of the laryngeal cartilage and airway widening usually takes place by age six or seven.
Infants with croup may experience breathing difficulties. As the child inhales through the larynx which is swollen and narrow, the tissues around the upper airways can collapse like breathing through the straw. This leads to seal like barking coughs associated with croup.
When laryngitis is not infectious, the cough may be a common symptom along with fullness in the throat. The patient may also have a problem in swallowing and have a shortness of breath. Rarely, the patient may even cough up blood-tinged saliva if the inflammation leads to minor bleeding.
Treatment to Ease Symptoms
In case a virus has caused laryngitis, symptoms disappear without treatment within 7 days. Doctors treat bacterial laryngitis with antibiotics although this is a rare form. Doctors may also prescribe medications to reduce inflammation or corticosteroids. This reduces swelling in acute and chronic laryngitis.
These treatments can lower vocal cord and voice box swelling. Corticosteroids can relieve and treat laryngitis especially the acute and viral kind. For chronic laryngitis patients, treatment needs to address the underlying problem.
Much like acute laryngitis, other conditions like vocal cord paralysis or dysphonia can be treated through rest, vocal therapy provided by speech pathologists or minor procedures. As far as vocal fold paralysis is concerned, treatment includes phonosurgery. This changes the vocal cord’s position or shapes to lessen tension caused by the voice.
Using a humidifier or inhaling steam to alleviate dryness is important. Another step is to get vocal therapy for analyzing the correct way to use the voice and any pathological speech patterns that stress your voice box and vocal cord.
Remember to drink a lot of fluids. Gargling with half a teaspoon of salt and half of baking soda in 8 ounces of warm water can also give your throat relief. Make sure you rest your voice, avoid shouting or talking loudly, don't use decongestants and try lozenges to keep the throat lubricated and refrain from whispering to strain the voice.
In rare cases, vocal cord inflammation can lead to respiratory distress and needs immediate medical attention. Bacterial conditions cause epiglottis which spreads beyond the larynx to other areas in the respiratory tract and within the bloodstream. If one has a bacterial infection, the treatment plan needs to be closely followed to prevent the contagion from spreading.
If serious medical conditions vocal cord paralysis or throat cancer causes laryngitis, complications can be severe if conditions are not treated in time. Vocal cord paralysis can cause trouble in swallowing and breathing. Food can enter the lungs leading to pneumonia.
Advanced cancer can be lethal and surgery/chemotherapy may be needed. Check with the doctor if laryngitis symptoms impact the ability to take a breath, eat or communicate or cause intense, extreme pain. The earlier the conditions are addressed, the better it will be for you.
Prevention: How to Keep Your Vocal Cords and Voice Box Healthy
The best way to keep the voice box and vocal cords healthy is to keep them free from irritants and moisture. To avoid common irritants, you need to avoid smoking as well as second-hand smoke. Another strict no-no is alcohol or caffeine intake. Washing the hands to catch colds and upper respiratory tract infections are essential. Toxic chemicals can be avoided in the workplace. Foods that cause indigestion and heartburn should also be avoided. Apart from clearing the throat, this causes an increase in inflammation and irritation.
Laryngitis: Is It Contagious?
Laryngitis is contagious if caused by infections. Upper respiratory tract infections and colds are contagious and spread through contact. Disease transmission can be prevented or minimized by covering the mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing and the need for proper hygiene habits.
Laryngitis is self-limiting and can last for some days. Symptoms need to be resolved within seven days, and two weeks at most. If symptoms persist for weeks, chronic laryngitis results and other viral infections must be considered.
The diagnosis of laryngitis can be made with little testing required. The history of the upper respiratory tract infection associated with voice loss is reinforced by the tone of the patient’s voice which must be hoarse. The examination is limited and brief to the ears, nose, and throat, looking for potential causes of the cold-like symptoms. In case the throat is red, there may be a need to deal with the streptococcal throat infection using a strep test.
For chronic hoarse voices, detailed history and record taking may be attempted trying to find out why the larynx has become inflamed for so long.
Here’s what the healthcare professional may look for while diagnosing laryngitis:
- Diet, use of aspirin, alcohol, ibuprofen and smoking cause GERD.
- Alcohol and smoking can cause vocal cord irritation.
- Hobbies and work may reveal a case of repeated chemical inhalation and exposure to air pollution.
- Repeated usage of asthma inhalers triggers vocal cord inflammation
- Signs and symptoms may also indicate conditions like cancer and thyroid.
In many cases of laryngitis, the diagnosis does not require testing. In those diagnosed with chronic laryngitis, the need for blood tests, diagnostic evaluations and X-rays are linked to the patient presentation and potential healthcare issues regarding the cause of hoarseness.
Laryngoscopy is one commonly performed test to study the vocal cords and evaluate functions. This thin tube procedure involves insertion of a lighted fiber optic camera through the nose into the throat’s back. Healthcare practitioners performing the procedure need to see why vocal cords are undergoing inflammation, or polyps and nodules are growing on them. It is also important to study if the vocal cords move appropriately with speaking and breathing. The test is often performed by an otolaryngologist or ENT specialist. Laryngoscopy can also be performed directly by other specialists. Indirect laryngoscopy involves using a mirror placed in the throat’s back for the visualization of the vocal cords.
For avoiding laryngitis, it is also essential to avoid spicy foods, include whole grains, veggies, and fruits in the diet. These foods contain vitamins A, E, and C and help the mucous membrane lining the throat to stay healthy.
It is also important to avoid clearing the throat. This does more damage than good, as it causes pathological vibrations of the vocal cords and intensifies the inflammation. Clearing the throat also leads to the secretion of more mucous and that might want to make you clear the throat again.
Avoiding upper respiratory infections is the key. Washing the hands often and avoiding contact with those with colds and other respiratory tract infections can keep laryngitis at bay.
Another diagnostic measure of the disease is a hoarse voice. Changes in the voice can also vary with the degree of infection or irritation, from mild hoarseness to complete loss of the voice. If there is chronic hoarseness, doctors may want to listen to the voice and examine the vocal cords, and he or she may refer to the ENT specialist.
Techniques for Diagnosing and Treating Laryngitis
Laryngoscopy: The doctor can visually examine the vocal cords through a laryngoscopy procedure. This involves the use of a light and a tiny mirror to look at the throat in the back. Doctors may use fiber optic laryngoscopy which involves inserting the thin, flexible tube called endoscope with a small camera and light through the nose or into the back of the throat. The doctor can then watch the motion of the vocal cords as one speaks.
Biopsy: If the doctor sees an area that is suspected to be infected, he/she may perform a biopsy and take the tissue sample for examination under a microscope. Acute laryngitis gets better on its own within a week or less. Self-care also leads to the improvement of the symptoms.
Chronic laryngitis treatment also works at eliminating the underlying causes such as smoking, the use of alcohol or heartburn. Medications can be used in certain cases including:
In different cases of laryngitis, an antibiotic won’t work well. Remember that the cause could be viral. But if the bacterial infection causing the disease is detected, an antibiotic may be prescribed for treatment.
Sometimes, corticosteroids can lower vocal cord inflammation. The treatment is used only when there is an urgent requirement to treat laryngitis. This is when the voice is needed to sing or give a speech or oral presentation. It may be used for treating croup in infants as well.
#2 Lifestyle and Home Remedies
- Certain self-care methods and home-based treatments may cause laryngitis to relieve and reduce the strain on the voice.
- Breathing moist air through a humidifier causes the air at home or office can be a way out. Inhale steam using a bowl of hot water or hot shower.
- Rest your voice as well. Avoid singing or talking too loudly for extended periods of time. If you need to speak before large groups, use a megaphone or microphone.
- Drink a lot of fluids to prevent dehydration and avoid caffeine and alcohol.
- For moistening the throat, suck on lozenges or gargle with salt water or even chew some gum.
- Give decongestants a wide berth as these medicines dry out the throat.
- Avoid whispering as this puts more strain on your voice than normal.
Preparing for an Appointment
Start by seeing a GP, your family doctor or pediatrician. You can even be referred to a doctor specializing in the treatment of ear, throat and nose maladies.
While preparing for the appointment, you need to write down advance instructions and any symptoms being experienced. Write down key personal details including recent life changes or stresses. Make a list of supplements, vitamins, and medications being taken.
Make sure you ask the doctor what causes are exacerbating the condition. Study other possible causes and whether the condition is chronic or temporary. Also, opt for the best course of action and weigh all your alternatives clearly.
How can other health conditions be managed? Are there any restrictions that need to be followed and does it require the medical intervention of a super specialist?
Questions Asked By Your Doctor
- When did the first symptoms start getting experience?
- Have symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- Check about the severity of symptoms and what improves as well as worsens the symptoms?
- Smoking and alcohol intake you may be taking
- Do you have any allergies or a recent cold?
- Have you overused your cords recently?
Physicians can diagnose laryngitis with a physical or medical examination that assesses the throat, voice, nose, and ears. In many cases, no extra testing is needed. Laryngitis is diagnosed post a physical examination. Most common conditions are hoarseness. Questions may be asked about lifestyle, exposure to airborne irritants and other diseases.
If a person suffers from symptoms like hoarseness, additional testing to examine the vocal cords completely may take place. Chronic hoarseness can be also caused by conditions like cancer in the throat. This requires follow-up tests to rule out serious illnesses.
A laryngoscope can be used for observing the motion of the vocal cords when in use and assess the presence of polyps or other nodules on vocal cords. A biopsy may also be carried out to handle further assessment for a suspicious tissue.
Cases of acute laryngitis can be treated with home remedies, rest and self-care measures for relieving symptoms. Staying hydrated is important for combating laryngitis. For patients, rest needs to focus on limiting the use of a larynx. Avoid singing, talking or using the voice box.
- Though whispering may seem gentle, this is when vocal cords are tightly stretched hampering recovery.
- Other simple home remedies range across the following:
- Avoid decongestants that dry out the throat
- Breath moist air
- Using acetaminophens such as ibuprofen and paracetamol for controlling the pain
- Avoid irritants like smoke.
Chronic laryngitis requires a lot of ongoing treatment. The cause of inflammation determines this. If laryngitis is caused by conditions such as sinusitis and acid reflux, treatment for the condition also requires the treatment of laryngitis symptoms.
Laryngitis treatment requires lifestyle changes. If singing is deemed to be the cause of laryngitis, the patient needs to alter singing. Speech training may be needed in such cases and avoiding alcohol, smoking and tobacco irritants is important.
A patient needing surgery in cases where vocal cords have been damaged as a result of nodule or polyp growth needs medical care.
As with treating any other inflammation, rest is the key to recovery. For laryngitis, it means limiting the talking and resting the voice. In case talking is needed, a person needs to speak in a regular voice and avoid whispering irrespective of how it sounds. Whispering requires the vocal cords to be stretched tight and delays the time for recovery.
Treatment for viral laryngitis is supportive. The patient needs to stay hydrated and breathe humidified air. Taking pain control medication like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can prove helpful.
The treatment of chronic laryngitis is assessed based on the cause of voice loss or inflammation or even loss of function. Avoid alcohol and smoking to relieve symptoms in the meantime.
Humidified air from a hot shower can also soothe the symptoms of this disease.
A cold water vaporizing unit may also help with humidity. Avoid hot water vaporizers as these can lead to scalding burns. Staying well hydrated is important, especially if the pain makes it tough to swallow liquids. Warm water gargling can prove beneficial as can popsicles.
In case there is paralysis of the vocal cord triggering laryngitis, the swallowing mechanism can be impacted and food particles may come into the larynx and lungs, causing a persistent cough. This process also triggers aspiration pneumonia and accompanying symptoms like shortness of breath, fever, and cough. This happens when food goes deep into the lungs and causes inflammation and irritation of the lung tissue.
Repeated GERD episodes may cause smaller amounts of acid to get past the inflammation in the larynx and penetrate the lungs, causing conditions like pneumonia and bronchitis. Before the advent of immunization, epiglottis due to flu was considered a possible alternative diagnosis for those with croup. Epiglottis swelling is a fatal emergency that can cause an obstruction and block air from entering the lungs and larynx. Neck x-rays are taken to visualize the swelling epiglottis. The diagnosis was confirmed in the operating room where the anesthesiologist and otolaryngologist can use laryngoscopy to check the vocal cords and epiglottis and decide whether to insert a breathing tube in the airway of the child to prevent the airway from becoming inflamed and blocked. Due to immunization, this disease is rare.
Laryngitis Home Remedies
If symptoms have been present for a few days or occur immediately following episodes of voice use more than average, the main treatment is to treat the voice as much as possible. It is essential to over-hydrate the body by consuming a lot of fluids.
If the affected person has symptoms indicating the virus is present, such as a cough, low-grade fever, nasal congestion, a running nose, muscle aches or feeling run down, drinking water and taking pain control medication is essential. Inhaling steam or resorting to a cool mist humidifier makes patients feel better. In the case of affected individuals, smoking should be avoided along with alcohol consumption.
Most of the time, doctors suggest home care and at most, the services of an ENT specialist. The otolaryngologist needs to be recommended if a serious medical condition such as laryngitis has continued for a time.
If the doctor is concerned about a bacterial infection leading to laryngitis, prescribing a course of antibiotics.
Doctors can choose to observe the patient in the ER or office department ensure the condition is not worsening. If the patients display respiratory distress or an airway further seals and close, then medical care is essential. In certain emergency situations, children rather than adults, the danger of throat inflammation and obstruction exists. This is from a contagious infection. It is necessary to place a breathing tube into the patient’s throat to breathe through a process called intubation. The patient needs to be placed on the ventilator for breathing. In such a situation, patients will receive IV antibiotics and likely steroids.
Follow Up Care
If an individual has received a prescription, it must be filled right away and the affected individual must consider all the medicine as required. To properly treat an illness, and prevent a recurrence, the treatment should not be cut short once the symptoms begin to abate.
The impacted person should try to rest the voice as much as possible, be motivated and aggressive about drinking liquids and rehydration. Avoidance of smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke will also result. One should always seek medical care in the event of a high fever or worsening of symptoms. If there is trouble breathing or the throat is closing, visit the ER.
Chronic laryngitis is a major concern. If a person changes his or her voice and exhibits hoarseness for more than a couple of weeks, a doctor’s care is essential. This long-term voice change can be treated by averting acid reflux and exposure to irritants that damage the vocal cords. The hoarseness could also be due to a tumor, or laryngeal papilloma on the vocal folds. Other diseases associated with laryngitis include laryngeal cancer; other lesions affect the recurrent laryngeal nerve can lead to hoarseness. Treatment depends on the cause.
When to See a Doctor
Laryngitis is not serious in adults. But in the event of high fever, blood in a cough, hoarseness, or trouble breathing, you do need immediate medical care.
Laryngitis can be serious in children, specifically when:
- The child is younger than 3 months old and has a 100 degree F or higher temperature.
- The child older than 3 months has a fever of 102 degrees F or higher.
- Another red flag is trouble swallowing or breathing or making high-pitched sounds while drooling or inhaling more than usual.
- As viral laryngitis heals in a couple of weeks, you don’t need a doctor, if you are ample to recover in the required time.
Laryngitis Self Care
#1 Don’t Speak Too Much
If the symptoms begin after using the voice more than normal, resting the voice as much as possible is essential. In those with acute laryngitis, resting the voice is important.
#2 Keep Yourself Hydrated
Ingest plenty of fluids, such as oral rehydration solution, soups, fresh juice, coconut water and more to keep yourself hydrated well.
#3 Treating Symptoms
If there are viral infection symptoms, such as fever, pain, cough and cold, take tepid sponging or acetaminophen can help in controlling the fever. OTC medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen can reduce other symptoms linked to the disease such as a sore throat, headache, and body pain, while a sore throat can be dispelled by gargling with lukewarm water and added salt. Saline nasal sprays and drops can clear up secretions.
Thus, while elementary precautions like washing your hands or resting your voice can prevent laryngitis, especially the viral kind, it is important to seek medical care if the problem becomes chronic. Generally, acute manifestations of this medical condition do clear up on their own, however.