Laryngitis is a fairly common condition of the throat which causes an inflammation, swelling and irritation of the larynx, also known as the voice box. Laryngitis typically causes a hoarse voice, loss of voice, coughing, fever, and other symptoms. It is easy to diagnose and treat laryngitis and it is not a permanent condition.

Causes of Laryngitis

When your vocal cords become irritated, inflamed or infected, they can swell. This will cause a hoarseness in your voice and may also block the airway; this is known as laryngitis. Infection caused by a virus is the most common way to get laryngitis, including cold or flu. Other causes include having allergies, bacterial infection, bronchitis, injury, exposure to irritants or chemicals, pneumonia, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It is also common among people with an upper respiratory infection.

Symptoms of Laryngitis

It is usually easy to determine whether or not you have laryngitis because the symptoms is simple. Symptoms of laryngitis include fever, hoarseness in your voice and swollen lymph nodes or glands in your neck. It may occur during or after you have had a cold, flu, or bronchitis though it can appear seemingly on its own as well.

Diagnosing Laryngitis

Laryngitis is usually easy for a doctor to determine which something as simple as a physical examination. This will give the doctor insight as to whether or not your hoarseness is caused by a respiratory tract infection. If your voice is hoarse for longer than a month, you will need to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist, also called an otolaryngologist, to provide additional tests for your upper airway and throat. However in most cases, laryngitis does not last this long unless you have complications or are a smoker.

Treating Laryngitis

Unlike many other medical conditions, most types of laryngitis are caused by a virus, therefore antibiotics might not help. You may be asked to rest your voice for a while to reduce the inflammation of your vocal cords. You can also set up a humidifier to soothe that scratchy feeling in your throat that often comes with having laryngitis. Pain relief medications and decongestants are commonly prescribed for laryngitis as they will relieve symptoms of an upper respiratory infection, if that is the cause of your laryngitis. Laryngitis is not considered a serious medical condition and will get better over time. If the other remedies aren’t helping, you should consult your doctor as you may need to be referred to a specialist.

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