What Is Laryngitis?
Laryngitis can be acute, with a rapid onset and limited duration of sy
What Are Symptoms of Laryngitis?
Symptoms of laryngitis include:
- Changes in voice
- Difficulty speaking
- Loss of voice
- Sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pain when swallowing
- Tickling feeling in the throat
- Dry cough
- Shortness of breath
- Urge to clear the throat
- Postnasal drip
- Feeling unwell (malaise)
- Swollen glands in the neck
- Symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection such as fever, cough, runny nose
What Causes Laryngitis?
Causes of laryngitis include:
- The common cold and other viral throat infections
- Fungal infections, such as thrush
- Vocal trauma such as from shouting too much, cheering, or straining the voice
- Inhaling harsh chemicals, such as cleaners or gasoline
- Environmental insults (pollution)
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Smoking or vaping
- Acid reflux
- Use of asthma inhalers
- Medical problems
- Abnormal growths on the vocal cords
- Muscle disorders affecting the voice box
- Throat cancer
Is Laryngitis Contagious?
Laryngitis is a symptom and in itself it is not contagious; however, some causes of laryngitis can be contagious.
Laryngitis caused by viral or bacterial infections can be contagious. Rarely, laryngitis may be caused by fungus, which can also be contagious. However, most viruses, bacteria, and fungi that tend to cause laryngitis are not usually highly contagious types.
Viruses, bacteria, and fungi are usually transmitted from person-to-person and through respiratory droplets propelled into the air when an affected person coughs or sneezes. The germs may also be present in saliva and passed on through kissing.
How Is Laryngitis Diagnosed?
Laryngitis is usually diagnosed with a medical history and physical examination. In order to diagnose the cause of the laryngitis, tests may include:
What Is the Treatment for Laryngitis?
Treatment for laryngitis depends on the cause. In many cases, home care to relieve symptoms may be all that is needed. For laryngitis due to:
- Vocal strain: rest your voice – don’t whisper as this can worsen symptoms
- Smoking: quit smoking
- Drinking alcohol: limit alcohol intake
- Inhaling harsh chemicals: avoid the chemical or ensure fresh air is coming in to the place you are exposed to fumes or that ventilation fans are used
- Acid reflux: treatments for acid reflux include:
- Medications if recommended
- Avoiding foods that trigger or worsen symptoms such as alcohol, coffee, and chocolate
- Don’t smoke
- Eat several small meals, rather than 2 or 3 big meals
- Do not lie down for at least 3 hours after eating, especially after large meals
Other home remedies to relieve symptoms associated with laryngitis include:
- Use a humidifier to moisten air
- Get adequate rest
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Use menthol inhalers
- Gargle with warm salt water to sooth the throat
- Suck on throat lozenges (lozenges are not recommended for young children; they can be a choking hazard)
- Avoid dusty areas
- Don’t take decongestants which can dry the throat
- In chronic or severe cases, medications to treat laryngitis may include:
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