Laryngitis

At the top of your windpipe is your voice box. It is the source of your voice. Inside your voice box are 2 bands of muscles called vocal cords. When you breathe, your vocal cords are relaxed and open so that air can get into the lungs. When you decide to say something, these cords come together and vibrate. The sound from these vibrations goes into your throat and comes out through your mouth as sound. 

Laryngitis is an inflammation of the vocal cords that causes hoarseness, cough, loss of voice, sore throat, and dry throat. Laryngitis can be temporary (acute) or long-term (chronic). Most cases of acute laryngitis improve with time.Chronic laryngitis lasts for more than 3 weeks.

CAUSES

Laryngitis can often be related to excessive smoking, talking, or yelling, as well as inhalation of toxic fumes and allergies. Acute laryngitis is usually caused by a viral infection, vocal strain, measles or mumps, or bacterial infections. Chronic laryngitis is usually caused by vocal cord strain, vocal cord injury, postnasal drip, growths on the vocal cords, or acid reflux.

SYMPTOMS

  • Cough.

  • Sore throat.

  • Dry throat.

RISK FACTORS

  • Respiratory infections.

  • Exposure to irritating substances, such as cigarette smoke, excessive amounts of alcohol, stomach acids, and workplace chemicals.

  • Voice trauma, such as vocal cord injury from shouting or speaking too loud.

DIAGNOSIS

Your cargiver will perform a physical exam. During the physical exam, your caregiver will examine your throat. The most common sign of laryngitis is hoarseness. Laryngoscopy may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis of this condition. This procedure allows your caregiver to look into the larynx.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Drink enough fluids to keep your urine clear or pale yellow.

  • Rest until you no longer have symptoms or as directed by your caregiver.

  • Breathe in moist air.

  • Take all medicine as directed by your caregiver.

  • Do not smoke.

  • Talk as little as possible (this includes whispering).

  • Write on paper instead of talking until your voice is back to normal.

  • Follow up with your caregiver if your condition has not improved after 10 days.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have trouble breathing.

  • You cough up blood.

  • You have persistent fever.

  • You have increasing pain.

  • You have difficulty swallowing.

MAKE SURE YOU:

  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.