Laryngitis is the inflammation of a person’s larynx or voice box, which is comprised of folds in the throat. The symptoms of laryngitis are rarely life-threatening. Identifying the symptoms of laryngitis early on can aid in recovering from the condition early on and avoid long-term damage from appearing.
What is Laryngitis?
Laryngitis is the inflammation of a person’s larynx or voice box, which is comprised of folds in the throat. Two types of laryngitis exist, acute laryngitis and chronic laryngitis. In both cases, the damage of the symptoms of laryngitis will cause problems for a person’s vocal communication ability, swallowing, and breathing.
Irritating the area through overuse such as shouting or singing, or by infection of a influenza-like disease such as the flu or a sinus infection are the main causes of acute laryngitis. Acute laryngitis is short-term and the associated symptoms of laryngitis are mild and treatable.
If the condition lasts for nearly a month or more, this is chronic laryngitis. Chronic laryngitis is long-term and is a result of prolonged exposure to habits or conditions that cause damage to the larynx. Overindulgence in vices such as alcohol drinking and smoking can cause chronic laryngitis. Inhalation of damaging substances is also another cause. Pre-existing medical conditions can also cause laryngitis, such as cancer or acid reflux.
Complications from laryngitis are often rare but leaving the condition untreated can give rise to more severe symptoms of laryngitis such as coughing up blood or a high fever will need immediate medical attention.
The Symptoms of Laryngitis.
The symptoms of laryngitis are often the same between every persons case but the severity of the symptoms can vary and depend on what caused the laryngitis in the first place. The minor symptoms are:
1. A hoarse voice
A hoarse voice is where your experiencing difficulty in talking or making other sounds with your voice. The sound is different from your normal voice and sounds strained and raspy.
2. A low volume of voice
The inflammation of the vocal folds can cause the voice to unable to achieve a higher volume level. Any attempts to raise your voice or shout is impossible and forcing it can cause more sever laryngitis symptoms.
3. Loss of voice
In some cases the vocal folds are incapable of creating any sound at all. Attempting to talk is not possible and the loudest voice available is whispering.
4. A sore or dry throat
Discomfort in throat is a common symptom of laryngitis. Swallowing is difficult as it is a painful experience. Coughing or spitting is also uncomfortable due to the irritation in the throat.
5. A mild fever
This symptom often accompanies the other symptoms if the cause of laryngitis is from infection. This is associated with the flu or other diseases.
Though rare, the severe symptoms of laryngitis can appear in some cases and it is advisable to go to a medical professional preferably a throat doctor as soon as possible to avoid further damage to a person’s larynx or throat or to see if there are more serious complications.
6. Coughing up blood or vocal fold bleeding
If you are experiencing extreme discomfort and blood appears when coughing, it is possible that there is bleeding in your larynx. This is frequently a result of strenuous pressure on the vocal chords in a short amount of time.
7. Respiratory problems
Though breathing difficulty is a normal symptom of laryngitis, experiencing great pain when breathing or hyperventilating is not. This is sometimes an early sign of a more dangerous disease.
8. Swallow difficulty
Pain when swallowing is standard with laryngitis symptom, however if you are having swallowing difficulty for a long period of time, gagging, or regurgitating food or drink this is a more serious problem.
9. High fever
if you are experiencing a fever with a temperature higher than 103 F (39.4 C) this is often an early sign of bacterial infection.
Treatment of Laryngitis
Treating laryngitis will vary depending on if you have acute laryngitis or chronic laryngitis. Acute laryngitis and its symptoms is often treatable with self-care methods with the following examples:
Frequent water drinking will help with the discomfort in the throat and help remove phlegm buildup in the throat. However avoid caffeine based drinks (such as coffee) as they promote dehydration.
Avoid using your voice or throat
Rest your vocal chords to help them heal and recover. Using your voice can lead to a longer rest period and more damage. Whispering is also not advisable as it requires more of an effort our vocal chords, forcing a whisper can lead to even more damage than attempting normal conversation. Avoid learing your throat or forcing a cough as well.
Avoid dry air and breath moist air
Dry air (commonly in winter) can lead to further irritation in your throat. Use a humidifier or inhale the steam off hot water to help your throat.
if your laryngitis has been infected, approach a doctor and have it checked out to see if you will need antibiotics avoid the infection from spreading.
Avoid cough/cold medicine
Though cough or cold medicine can help with the flu-like symptoms these can dry out your throat which will make it harder to recover from laryngitis.
As chronic laryngitis is often caused by something else, self-care remedies might be insufficient and therapy or medication from a doctor will be needed for treatment.
Prevention of Laryngitis
Preventing laryngitis and the symptoms of laryngitis is easy and depends on the habits of a person when it comes to throat car and general wellness.
Avoid or limit vices such as smoking or drinking alcohol
Smoking can cause a dry throat and respiratory problems especially if done for a long time. Alcohol meanwhile causes dehydration.
drinking water on a frequent basis can help hydrate your body and your throat.
Practice proper hygiene
Washing your hands, bathing and avoid contact with sick people can all contribute to avoiding laryngitis.
Laryngitis is an avoidable condition with proper care and healthy habits. The symptoms of laryngitis are also easily treatable and often rest is the best possible way to treat it. Often carelessness with one’s voice or health can lead to laryngitis.