Laryngitis is swelling and irritation of the larynx (voice box). It causes hoarseness and, in some cases, voice loss. It can be acute (short-lived) or chronic (long-lasting), but is usually the result of a temporary viral infection or vocal strain. Persistent laryngitis that lasts longer than two weeks could be a sign of a serious condition and should be evaluated by a doctor.
What Causes Laryngitis?
Causes include colds and viral infections, allergies, misuse of the voice, bacterial infections, acid reflux, sinus infections, vocal cord lesions and smoking.
What Are the Symptoms of Laryngitis?
Your voice can take on a raspy or breathy quality, may be deeper than usual and can break or crack. Some people lose their voice altogether. In addition to hoarseness, you may experience a dry or sore throat, coughing and difficulty swallowing.
How Is Laryngitis Treated?
Treatment for laryngitis depends on what is causing your symptoms. To find this out, your doctor will review your medical history and complete a physical exam.
Resting your vocal cords helps them heal. Attempting to speak while suffering from laryngitis can result in permanent damage.
Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol and caffeine. A warm saltwater gargle several times a day can help relieve discomfort. Smoking can cause irritation and may worsen your condition.