Acute laryngitis is not life-threatening but can be an irritating addition to any cold or flu. Chronic laryngitis lasts for a few weeks at a time and can be an underlying condition for other illnesses. AFC Urgent Care Paramus can help you understand the signs of laryngitis and when to seek medical attention.
Signs and causes of laryngitis
Acute laryngitis is a short-term condition that can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or strain on the voice. This strain can come from overusing the voice through talking or yelling, or alcohol use. Symptoms typically last between one to three weeks, depending on the level of strain. Chronic laryngitis can last at least three weeks and is generally caused by air pollutants or other irritants. Irritants can include smoking, acid reflux, or exposure to harmful chemicals. Symptoms of chronic laryngitis are typically worse than acute. Signs of laryngitis can consist of:
- Weakened, or loss of voice
- Hoarse, dry throat
- Dry cough
In children, symptoms of laryngitis can mean they have a bacterial infection around the voicebox. This leads to epiglottitis, which can be fatal. It is due to the swelling of the windpipe, which can make it difficult to breathe. If your child is experiencing any of the above symptoms, as well as a fever, trouble swallowing, or noise while breathing, you should seek medical attention for them immediately.
If bacteria cause laryngitis, then your doctor can prescribe an antibiotic to help it go away. You should feel relief within a few days and start to get your voice back. With a virus, no medication will help. Vocal rest and plenty of water can help speed up the recovery process. Your voice should come back within seven days. Use a humidifier throughout the day and while sleeping to add moisture back to the air. This can help relieve a dry throat.
If using your voice is a large portion of your job, getting vocal lessons can help. Frequent laryngitis or using the vocal cords incorrectly can cause permanent damage to your vocal cords, such as nodules, cysts, or ulcers. A vocal coach can help you learn the proper ways to use your voice and the best breathing techniques. Additionally, keep your throat moist and free from any irritants. Try not to clear your throat, either, as this can cause inflammation or irritation.
For a proper diagnosis of laryngitis, visit AFC Urgent Care Paramus. Our doctors are trained to give you the best care you need while giving you the most informed treatment options. Call us today.