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Laryngitis is an infection or irritation of the voice box (larynx). The most common cause is a viral infection.
It causes hoarse voice or the complete loss of the voice because of irritation to the vocal folds (vocal cords).
Last Updated - 5th July 2006
It is categorized as acute if it lasts less than a few days. Otherwise it is categorized as chronic which should take 1 1/2 week.
- Viral infections such as a cold
- Excessive talking
- Excessive singing
- Excessive yelling
- Cigarette smoke
- Backflow (reflux) of stomach acid into the throat
- Heavy drinking or smoking can lead to chronic laryngitis
- Laryngitis is often caused by a virus or by bacteria.
- Loss of voice
- Urge to constantly clear your throat
- Throat pain
Prevention and Home Treatment
- Rest your voice. Talk as little as possible.
- Stop shouting.
- Do not whisper as whispering is harder on your vocal chords than talking.
- Avoid clearing your throat.
- If hoarseness is caused by a cold, treat the cold.
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid others who are smoking.
- Humidify your bedrooms or whole house, if possible.
- Stay hydrated, drink plenty of liquids; water, orange juice, etc. Drink 8 to 12 glasses of water per day.
- To soothe your throat, gargle with warm salt water ( 1 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of water), or drink weak team or hot water with honey.
- Ibuprofen and aspirin may help alleviate fever and some of the discomfort associated with laryngitis.
- Avoid speaking when possible. Speak softly, but do not whisper.
- Drink warm liquids such as tea or a honey-lemon drink.
- Take cough drops/throat lozenges. If unavailable, suck on hard candy.
- Humidifiers and warm showers can also help alleviate some symptoms.
- Avoid airborne irritants such as smoke and allergens.
- Gargle with a salt water rinse; avoid mouth rinses containing alcohol which can dry the throat (however, these can be helpful when the cause of the infection is bacterial).
- A tea of gingerroot can help reduce swelling of the vocal chords and relieve symptoms.
When To Call A Physician
- If hoarseness persists for more than 3 to 4 weeks.
- If you suspect that the problem may be stomach acid reflux.
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