Laryngitis is commonly caused by a viral infection which results in the inflammation of the vocal chords.
Often singers, cheerleaders, announcers, politicians and young children who yell and cry are prone to developing laryngitis and may ‘lose’ their voice for a few days. This is caused when your vocal chords are over-stressed and thus irritated. Laryngitis is a fairly harmless condition and patients recover on their own within 1-3 days—the period depends on the cause of the problem.
Additionally, smoking and passive smoking may also cause throat irritation and thus laryngitis. People working in construction areas and industries are also exposed to a lot of smoke and are likely to suffer from the problem as well. As long as you are exposed to pollutants and irritating chemicals, the cause and symptoms of the condition are likely to persist.
However, it is important to note that other complications such as croup in children may also exhibit the same symptoms as laryngitis. If you suspect that laryngitis is not the problem, consult your paediatrician or doctor immediately.
- Sore throat
- Dry cough
- Hoarse voice or loss of voice
- Difficulty while swallowing
- Tickling sensation of the throat
- It helps to suck on a throat lozenge, a cough drop or even hard candy
- It is best to eliminate the cause of the problem, such as smoke or chemicals. This also means you have to quit smoking
- Overuse of your vocal chords is also a main problem, therefore, you must give your voice some rest till you recover
- Use a humidifier or a cool mist to relieve the symptoms. You can also sit near a hot shower.
- To relieve the fever, you may take any over the counter medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen—this will also reduce discomfort of the throat and pain
- Gargle regularly with a warm salt solution. This can be 1 cup of water mixed with ½ teaspoon of salt
- Use a notebook, journal or piece of paper to communicate with your friends and family. Sometimes it hurts to talk so you should speak softly. Do NOT whisper.
- Drinking warm liquids may also alleviate the symptoms. You can drink green tea with honey, lemon and ginger or broth
The hoarseness of your voice and the dry coughs may persist for more than a week, even after you recover. This is typical in many infections and common cold cases; therefore, it doesn’t call for alarm. The problem initially eases out once you are fully recovered from the fever and feeling of sickness.
When to seek medical attention
- You are suffering from breathing difficulties
- Your fever is higher than 101 F
- Your difficulty in swallowing is preventing you from eating your normal meals
- A barking, deep cough in young children
- Your voice is hoarse for about a month and you do not know the exact cause
- The disease is stopping you from performing daily activities
- The symptoms are too severe
In Serious / Extreme Circumstances
Individuals trained in St Mark James first aid and CPR have the skills to provide assisted breathing for patients that can not breathe normally and require immediate help. Learning these valuable skills can mean the difference between life and death.
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