Laryngitis Symptoms. Laryngitis is the inflammation of the larynx, which is the voice box. It can be caused by a viral infection, such as the common cold or bacterial infection. Laryngitis symptoms include a hoarse voice and sore throat. Treatment for laryngitis includes rest, humidification, and over-the-counter medication. In severe cases, laryngitis may require medical treatment.
Causes of Laryngitis
Several different factors might influence the causes of laryngitis.
Viral Infections: The most common cause of laryngitis is a viral infection, such as the common cold or flu. These viruses attack the mucous membranes that line the larynx and throat, causing them to become inflamed and swollen. This inflammation can lead to difficulty speaking and a hoarse voice. Viral laryngitis usually goes away on its own within a week.
Bacterial Infections:Bacterial infections are another common cause of laryngitis. These infections can occur when bacteria enter the body through the nose or mouth or spread from another area of infection, such as the sinuses or middle ear. Bacterial laryngitis is more likely to occur in people who have a weakened immune system. Symptoms of bacterial laryngitis include a severe sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and fever.
Other Causes: Laryngitis may also happen due to overuse of the voice, such as shouting or singing. This overexertion can lead to inflammation and swelling of the larynx. Smoking is a common cause of laryngitis because it irritates and dries out the mucous membranes lining the throat and larynx. Acid reflux, allergies, and certain medications can also cause laryngitis. Treatment for other causes of laryngitis will depend on the underlying cause.
Laryngitis Symptoms and Complications
The most common symptom of laryngitis is a hoarse voice. Other symptoms might include:
-Pain when speaking
-A tickling sensation in the throat
-Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
-Fever (in some cases)
In most cases, laryngitis is a mild condition that will resolve within a week. However, in some cases, laryngitis can lead to complications. Complications of laryngitis might include:
Dehydration: Dehydration can occur when laryngitis causes difficulty swallowing, which may lead to a loss of fluids and electrolytes from the body. Symptoms of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, dizziness, and lightheadedness. Individuals can treat dehydration by drinking plenty of fluids, such as water or clear liquids.
Pneumonia: Pneumonia is a severe complication that can occur when bacteria enter the lungs. Symptoms of pneumonia might include fever, chills, coughing, and difficulty breathing. Doctors can treat pneumonia with antibiotics.
Breathing difficulties: In some cases, laryngitis might cause the airway to become blocked. This blockage can make it difficult to breathe. If an individual has difficulty breathing, they should seek medical attention immediately.
Speech problems: Laryngitis can sometimes cause temporary speech problems, which are more likely to occur in people with chronic laryngitis or who have suffered damage to the vocal cords. Speech therapy might be necessary to help improve speech skills.
Infection: If a bacterial infection causes laryngitis, it can sometimes spread to other body parts, such as the lungs. This spread can lead to a more severe infection. Treatment for a bacterial infection might include antibiotics.
Damage to the vocal cords: In some cases, laryngitis might cause damage to the vocal cords. This damage can lead to problems with speaking or swallowing. Surgery might be necessary to repair the damage.
Most cases of laryngitis can be treated at home with self-care measures. Home treatment might include:
-Resting your voice as much as possible
-Drinking plenty of fluids
-Using a humidifier
-Gargling with warm saltwater
-Avoiding irritants, such as smoke and alcohol
-Taking over-the-counter medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to relieve pain and inflammation
In severe cases of laryngitis, medical treatment might be necessary. Treatment might include:
-Corticosteroid injections or oral medication to reduce inflammation
-Antibiotics to treat bacterial infections
-Surgery to remove polyps or other growths
-Voice therapy to help preserve vocal function
There are several things a person can do to prevent laryngitis, such as:
-Resting their voice when they have a cold or other respiratory infection
-Avoiding tobacco smoke
-Drinking plenty of fluids
-Staying hydrated by drinking water throughout the day
-Avoiding dehydration by avoiding alcohol and caffeinated beverages
-Practicing good hygiene, such as washing hands regularly and avoiding close contact with people who are sick
-Managing GERD with medication and lifestyle changes, such as avoiding trigger foods and eating smaller meals
-Use a humidifier in the home to keep the air moist
-Avoiding overuse of the voice, such as shouting or singing for long periods
-Taking breaks during extended periods of speaking