Laryngitis! How to Treat and Prevent?
How to Quickly Get Rid of Laryngitis
Laryngitis is the inflammation of the voice box, or larynx, which is an organ that helps join the trachea (windpipe) to the back of the throat. This condition typically occurs due to a viral infection. Although the symptoms of laryngitis are often uncomfortable, this guide will teach you how to alleviate these symptoms and get rid of the infection more quickly.
Know the causes of laryngitis.Laryngitis is typically caused by a viral infection such as a cold or bronchitis, and it tends to go away by itself in adults.
- In children, however, laryngitis can cause complications that may lead to croup, a respiratory condition.
- In some cases, a bacterial or fungal infection causes laryngitis.
- Exposure to a chemical irritant can also lead to laryngitis.
Recognize the early symptoms.To help get rid of laryngitis quickly, you need to be able to recognize the symptoms as soon as possible. People suffering from laryngitis usually experience:
- Hoarseness of voice
- A swollen, sore, or itchy throat
- Dry cough
- Difficulty swallowing
Be aware of risk factors.The following risk factors contribute to the likelihood of developing laryngitis:
- Upper respiratory tract infections such as cold and diseases that inflame the voice box or larynx.
- Excessive use of the vocal chords. Laryngitis is common in people whose profession requires them to talk, yell, or sing frequently.
- Allergies that cause throat inflammation.
- Acid reflux, which can irritate the vocal chords.
- The use of corticosteroid medication to treat asthma can cause throat irritation and inflammation.
- Smoking, which irritates and inflames the vocal chords.
Treating Laryngitis with Medications
Take over-the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, aspirin, or paracetamol.These medicines will help quickly relieve throat pain and control fever.
- These pain relievers often come in either pill or liquid form.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding the dosage or the directions listed on the bottle.
- You can also ask a pharmacist about the best medication to relieve your symptoms, or for questions about how to take this medicine.
Avoid decongestants.Decongestants dry out your throat and might make your laryngitis worse. If you want to recover quickly, avoid these medications.
Take antibiotics your doctor prescribes.In cases where the laryngitis is caused by a bacterial infection, the doctor can prescribe an antibiotic, which often provides fast relief.
- Don’t take antibiotics you may have around the house without consulting a doctor.
- In most cases of laryngitis, which are caused by a virus, antibiotics will not provide relief.
- Your doctor might give you an injection of antibiotics to accelerate the healing process.
Talk with your doctor about corticosteroid medication.If you have a bad case of laryngitis, but need your voice back to normal as soon as possible to give a presentation, make a speech, or sing, you can ask your doctor about whether corticosteroid medication might be a good option. These medicines can offer fast relief of inflammation caused by laryngitis.
- Corticosteroids are usually only prescribed in severe cases or urgent situations.
Identify and treat the underlying causes of laryngitis.To quickly and effectively treat laryngitis that is not caused by a virus or a bacterial infection, it’s important to identify the underlying cause and take medicine that will treat that condition.
- Over the counter acid reflux medicine may relieve laryngitis caused by acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
- If your laryngitis seems to be allergy-related, take allergy medication.
- If you are unsure about the cause of your laryngitis, it’s a good idea to work with a medical professional who can best diagnose and recommend a treatment plan for your symptoms.
Trying Self-Care Measures and Home Remedies
Rest the vocal chords.If you want to recover quickly, rest your vocal chords as much as possible. Talking can strain the muscles, which aggravates inflammation.
- Do not whisper. Contrary to popular belief, whispering doubles the stress on the larynx.
- Speak softly or write down what you have to say.
Stay hydrated and keep your throat moist.For a speedy recovery from laryngitis, it's important to remain hydrated and keep your throat moist to relieve irritation. Drink lots of liquids and try sucking on lozenges or chewing gum.
- When the throat is particularly sore, warm fluids can be soothing. Try drinking lukewarm water, soup, or warm tea with honey.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can actually increase dryness and irritation.
- Sucking lozenges and chewing gum help increase the production of saliva, which will relieve throat irritation.
Gargle.Gargling—holding lukewarm water in the mouth, tilting the head back and using the muscles in the throat to make an “ahhhh” sound—can also quickly ease some of your symptoms. To experience the most benefit and recover from your laryngitis quickly, gargle several times a day for several minutes at a time.
- Try gargling with warm water and ½ teaspoon of salt dissolved in the water to increase saliva production, promote healing, and relieve your symptoms faster.
- You can also gargle with a tablet of Aspirin dissolved in a glass of lukewarm water for pain relief. It is important to avoid swallowing the aspirin, and this mixture should not be given to children under the age of 16 to avoid the risk of choking.
- Some people recommend gargling mouthwash, since it is supposed to kill germs and bacteria in your mouth.
- Another gargling home remedy people is to try is a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar, which is thought to kill bacteria and fungi that may cause laryngitis.
Avoid irritants such as smoke.Smoke contributes to further inflammation of the larynx, as it will irritate and dry out the throat.
- Laryngitis sufferers are encouraged to quit smoking and avoid staying around smokers.
Inhale steam or use air humidifiers.Moist air can help lubricate the throat’s airways and decrease inflammation, so try inhaling steam or using an air humidifier to alleviate your laryngitis.
- Turn on the hot water in the shower so there is plenty of steam, and spend 15 to 20 minutes inhaling the steam.
- You can also try inhaling the steam over a bowl of hot water. It often helps to put a towel over your head so the steam does not dissipate as quickly.
Try herbal remedies.Herbs have long been used to treat sore throat and other symptoms related to laryngitis, but they can cause side effects, especially when they interact with other supplements or medications. While it’s best to talk with a health care professional about whether or not it is safe to use herbs to treat your laryngitis, there is a list below of some of the herbs thought to provide relief from laryngitis.
- Eucalyptus can soothe an irritated throat. Use fresh leaves to drink as a tea or use as a gargle. Do not drink eucalyptus oil as it is poisonous.
- Peppermint is similar to eucalyptus and can help treat common colds and sore throats. Do not use peppermint or menthol with infants and do not take peppermint oil by mouth.
- Licorice is used as a treatment for sore throat. However, consult with your doctor before eating licorice especially if you are taking medications such as aspirin or warfarin. This may affect people who are pregnant, have high blood pressure, or who have heart, liver or kidney disease.
- Slippery elm is thought to relieve throat irritation since it contains mucilage that coats the throat, but scientific evidence for this herbal remedy is limited. To test it on your laryngitis symptoms, mix 1 teaspoon of the powdered extract in a cup of warm water and sip slowly. Try to hold the mixture in your mouth for as long as possible before swallowing. Slippery elm might also impact the way your body absorbs medication, so talk with a healthcare expert and avoid taking other medication with slippery elm. You should also avoid this herb if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Knowing When To See a Doctor
Pay attention to how long your laryngitis lasts.If you are still experiencing laryngitis symptoms after two weeks, it’s best to seek medical attention.
- Your doctor will be able to determine if you are dealing with a severe case of laryngitis or a different condition.
Be aware of dangerous symptoms, and seek medical attention immediately.If you are dealing with any of the symptoms below, you should go see a doctor or medical professional as soon as possible:
- Increasing pain
- Persistent fever
- Difficulty breathing
- Trouble swallowing
- Coughing up blood
- Difficulty managing your own saliva
Be alert to sudden changes in your child’s condition.If you suspect your child has laryngitis, and he experiences any of the symptoms listed below, do not hesitate to seek medical attention. He might have a more serious respiratory condition such as croup.
- Increased drooling
- Trouble swallowing or breathing
- Fever higher than 103°F (39.4°C)
- Muffled speech (also known as a hot potato voice)
- When he inhales, he makes a high-pitched breathing sound
Notice how frequently you have laryngitis.If you frequently suffer from laryngitis, it is advisable to talk with your doctor about this situation so she can determine the underlying cause and recommend a treatment plan. Chronic episodes of laryngitis might be a result of one of these medical conditions:
- Sinus or allergy problems
- Bacterial or fungal infection
- Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Vocal chord paralysis due to an injury, tumor, or stroke
- If your laryngitis persists after two weeks, seek medical attention so that your doctor can provide treatment and make sure your symptoms are not caused by a different condition.
- Whispering places more stress on your vocal chords.
Sources and Citations
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