What is laryngitis?
Sore throat? Lost your voice? Then you might have laryngitis.
Alexander Pan avatar
Written by Alexander Pan
Updated over a week ago

Your voice is something you use every day, so it's actually quite a big deal if you were to lose it. Well, that's where laryngitis comes in.

Laryngitis is something that can begin suddenly out of nowhere or can be linked to another illness, so we're going to take a look at what this is, what the signs and symptoms are, and how to treat it.

Just remember that if you need support or someone to talk to, our Sonder support team is available 24/7 to chat whenever you need it.

What exactly is laryngitis?

Laryngitis is inflammation of the larynx - more commonly known as the voice box - and the vocal cords become swollen and can't vibrate properly. This will result in the loss of your voice or you'll end up sounding hoarse.

In most cases, laryngitis is caused by a viral infection, such as the flu or cold, or damage to your larynx, usually caused by straining or overusing your voice. This illness is usually not serious and recovery takes about a week.

Chronic or long-term laryngitis occurs when it lasts for longer than three weeks and is usually caused by:

  • Smoking or excessive alcohol use

  • Irritants such as fumes, dust and chemicals

  • Reflux

  • Repeated strain on the vocal cords, most commonly seen in singers

  • An injury to the vocal cords or growths on the vocal cords

  • Allergies

  • A sinus infection.

Signs and symptoms

The signs and symptoms of laryngitis can include:

  • Low, hoarse voice

  • Difficulty speaking

  • Sore, dry or tickly throat

  • Mild fever

  • Irritating cough.

Sometimes laryngitis can be linked to another illness, such as the flu, a cold, or tonsillitis, which will result in additional symptoms such as:

  • Headache

  • Swollen glands

  • Runny nose

  • Pain while swallowing

  • Fatigue.

Treatment for laryngitis

Laryngitis will usually get better on its own within a week so there's no need to see a doctor for any specific treatment. However, if you have trouble breathing or your symptoms last for more than two weeks, see your doctor as you may need a general check-up, medication and some further tests.

There are ways to help soothe your voice (or lack thereof) or ease your symptoms:

  • Drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol

  • Avoid smoking and exposure to cigarette smoke

  • Rest your voice by talking as little as possible and avoid shouting

  • Avoid whispering, as this puts more strain on your voice than normal speech

  • Inhale steam to help a blocked nose

  • Avoid nasal decongestants (these make your throat drier)

  • Use paracetamol, ibuprofen or aspirin to help with symptoms such as a headache, fever and sore throat.

If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

Information sourced from: Better Health, Health Direct, and NHS Inform

Image credit: Ferris Bueller's Day Off

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

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