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Laryngitis (cont.)

Laryngitis Follow-up

  • If the person has received a prescription, it must be filled right away and the affected individual must take all of the medicine, as instructed. In order to properly treat the illness and prevent a recurrence the person must not cut treatment short after feeling better.
  • The affected person should try to rest the voice as much as possible, be aggressive about rehydration and drinking liquids, and avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • The person should always report to a doctor if he or she has a worsening of symptoms or high fever.
  • If the person has any trouble breathing or feel as if the throat is closing, then he or she should go to the emergency department. Use 911 emergency services if indicated.

Laryngitis Prevention

Because most cases of laryngitis are caused by viruses, the best prevention is making sure to wash hands often, especially before touching the face, to minimize the transmission of contagious microbes. Despite these efforts, much like a common cold, it is impossible to eliminate the risk altogether.

For children, it is important to receive the Haemophilus influenzae vaccine in order to protect them from possibly life-threatening contagious bacterial infections. Otherwise, taking care not to overuse the voice is the only other preventive step.

Laryngitis Prognosis

Chronic laryngitis is a concern. If the a person has a change in his or her voice, or hoarseness that lasts more than 2 to 3 weeks, a doctor should be consulted. This long-term voice change could be caused by an easily treatable condition such as acid reflux or being exposed to a substance that continues to irritate the vocal cords. It might be the first sign of a serious condition, however, such as a tumor on the voice box that needs medical attention. The hoarseness may be due to a laryngeal papilloma on the vocal folds or more worrisome, a laryngeal cancer; other lesions that affect the recurrent laryngeal nerve may also cause hoarseness.

Medically reviewed by Joseph Palermo, DO; American Osteopathic Board Certified Internal Medicine

REFERENCE: Feierabend RH, Shahram MN. Hoarseness in adults. Am Fam Physician. 2009 Aug 15;80(4):363-70. Review.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/16/2016

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