Hoarseness is frequently due to laryngitis from a viral infection or cold. Symptoms of laryngitis include cough, fever, sore throat, and the urge to clear your throat. Activities that cause hoarseness include singing, yelling, smoking, and drinking alcohol. Allergies and acid reflux from the stomach are also known to cause hoarseness. Growths on the vocal cords can develop in smokers (and sometimes in non-smokers), causing chronic hoarseness.
Hoarseness from laryngitis will usually clear up in 5-10 days on its own. Rest your voice by not shouting and by talking as little as possible. Use written notes to communicate until your voice is back to normal. Try to stop clearing your throat. Do not smoke or expose yourself to other people's smoke. Increase your fluid intake and get plenty of rest.
SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:
You develop trouble breathing or bloody mucus with your cough.
You develop increased pain, trouble swallowing, or a high fever.
There is no improvement in hoarseness or cough after 5-10 days of treatment.