ABSTRACT – Laryngitis is an irritation and inflammation in voice box i.e. larynx, causes distortion of the voice as...
Laryngitis is an inflammation of the vocal cords.
The vocal cords normally open and close to generate the voice with a slow, steady movement. When a person has laryngitis, their vocal cords are swollen. This changes the way air moves through the throat.
This change in airflow leads to a distortion of the sounds that the vocal cords produce. People with this disease will often have a voice that is hoarse, gravelly, or too quiet to hear properly.
In chronic laryngitis, the inflammation is ongoing. Vocal cords can become strained and develop growths, such as polyps or nodules.
Laryngitis can cause a wide range of symptoms in adults, including:
difficulty with speech
frequent throat clearing
These symptoms begin suddenly and often become more severe over the next 2 to 3 days. If symptoms last for more than 3 weeks, it is likely that the case has become chronic. This suggests a more serious underlying cause that warrants further investigation.
Laryngitis often relates to other illnesses. Tonsilitis, throat infection, cold, or flu can occur alongside a case of laryngitis, so the following symptoms may also occur:
swelling in the glands
pain while swallowing
fatigue and malaise
The symptoms are likely to resolve without treatment by the seventh day of infection. See a doctor if the symptoms persist for longer or present severely.
Symptoms in children
Symptoms of laryngitis in children can differ from symptoms in adults. The condition is often characterized by a hoarse, barking cough and fever, and may also present as croup.
Croup is a contagious respiratory illness common among children. Although croup is usually a simple illness to treat, severe cases require medical attention.
Medical attention is recommended for children experiencing any of the following symptoms:
difficulty with breathing or swallowing
a fever of over 103° Fahrenheit or 39.4° Celsius
loud, high-pitched breathing sounds when inhaling
These symptoms can also indicate epiglottitis. This is inflammation of the tissue surrounding the trachea, or windpipe. Both adults and children can develop epiglottitis, and the condition can be life-threatening in certain cases.
A number of conditions can cause laryngitis. Acute and chronic forms of laryngitis typically result from different factors.
The most common cause of laryngitis is a viral infection, often similar to those that cause the common cold or flu. Overuse of the voice can also cause inflammation of the larynx. Examples of overuse include loud singing or excessive shouting.
In very rare instances, acute laryngitis can be caused by diphtheria, a bacterial infection. Most people in the U.S. have received a diphtheria immunization.
Chronic laryngitis is typically caused by the following:
acid reflux, a condition in which stomach acid and contents are brought back up into the throat
bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infection
exposure to inhaled irritants, such as allergens or toxic fumes
high alcohol intake
habitual misuse or overuse of voice
smoking, including secondhand smoke
use of inhaled steroid medicines, such as asthma inhalers
Cases of acute laryngitis are often best treated with rest, home remedies, and self-care measures that can relieve symptoms.
woman stays hydrated
Staying hydrated is important for recovery from laryngitis.
Doctors will normally advise rest to manage the symptoms of laryngitis.
For laryngitis, rest means limiting the use of the larynx. Avoid talking, singing, or using the voice box. Although whispering may seem like a gentler alternative to speaking at normal volume, this requires that the vocal cords are tightly stretched, hampering their recovery. Whispering should also be avoided.
Other simple home remedies include:
avoiding decongestants, as these dry out the throat
breathing moist air
using acetaminophens, such as paracetamol, or ibuprofen to control the pain
avoiding inhalation of irritants, such as smoking or second-hand smoke
drinking plenty of fluids