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Laryngitis (cont.)

When to Seek Medical Care

When to call the doctor

Sometimes laryngitis may be more serious and may indicate laryngeal cancer. Several symptoms should cause a person to see a doctor:

  • High fever with a sore throat
  • Coughing up yellow or green phlegm (possibly suggestive of bronchitis or sinusitis)
  • Coughing up blood
  • Inability to drink liquids
  • A history of throat or breathing problems
  • Symptoms that last for 2 to 3 weeks despite resting the voice
  • Weight loss
  • Associated swelling in the neck
  • Throat pain or discomfort

Children are different than adults because they are more likely to become infected with different microbes, and potentially may be contagious depending on the infecting organism.

  • If a child just has a hoarse voice, with or without other symptoms of a virus such as low-grade fever (less than 100.5 F or 38 C) runny nose, muscle aches, cough, or nasal congestion, then the treatment is the same as for an adult.
  • If the child has a fever, a sore throat, won't eat or drink, or has a decreased number of wet diapers (indicating less than adequate drinking) you should take the child to see a doctor.

When to go to the hospital

Some situations can be life threatening, and you must not delay seeing a doctor. Go to a hospital's emergency department or call 911 if you experience any of the following.

  • Any trouble breathing
  • Feeling as if your throat is closing
  • Inability to swallow
  • Drooling
  • Need to sit upright to breathe

If a child is drooling, has a whistling noise in his or her throat when breathing, or has any trouble breathing at all, then the child needs to go to the hospital.

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