Doctor's Notes on Laryngitis
Laryngitis is inflammation and/or swelling of the larynx (also termed voice box). The most common symptoms of laryngitis include voice hoarseness or only able to whisper, feeling a tickle or slight irritation in the throat and the urge to clear the throat, cough and/or fever.
There are multiple causes of laryngitis. The most common causes are infections by viruses or stressing your voice. Bacteria can also cause laryngitis. Even after infection has resolved, laryngitis symptoms may persist for a few weeks. If laryngitis persists, the underlying cause could be cancer.
The most common symptoms of laryngitis
- Feeling a tickle in the throat (that may be from reflux laryngitis)
- The urge to constantly clear the throat (that may be from reflux laryngitis)
- Cough (that can be from bronchitis or sinusitis)
Often laryngitis may develop in addition to, or a few days after a sore throat. Even after the infection has resolved, the laryngitis may linger for a few weeks.
If the laryngitis is from a viral or bacterial infection, it is possible that the specific virus or bacteria can be contagious. However, if the laryngitis is from laryngeal cancer or overuse of the voice, it is not contagious.
Your throat aches and burns. It’s painful to swallow. You know something is wrong, but how bad is it? Will it get better without antibiotics? Or will you need to visit the doctor?
This article is designed to help you find relief from your sore throat, and discover whether or not you likely have strep throat symptoms. You will find the telltale signs of strep throat and the common sore throat, as well as treatment options for both.
What Is Strep Throat?
Unlike the common sore throat, strep throat is caused by a bacterial infection. A Streptococcus bacteria (called "group A strep") infects the throat and the tonsils, and it will quickly respond to antibiotics. It’s important to distinguish strep throat from sore throat because treatment for both is very different.
What Is the Common Sore Throat?
A sore throat can be quite painful, but it is not as painful as strep throat. Unlike strep throat, the common sore throat is usually caused by a virus. This means it will not respond to antibiotics.
Even if it’s not strep throat, you may need to see a doctor for sore throat relief. It’s time to see the doctor if your sore throat
- lasts longer than a week,
- keeps coming back,
- makes your voice hoarse for more than two weeks,
- causes dehydration, or
- worries you in some other way.
Read along to find what symptoms distinguish a common sore throat from strep throat.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.