If there is discomfort in your throat and difficulty speaking, you may be suffering from laryngitis.. Although it is often confused with other throat diseases, such as pharyngitis or tonsillitis, laryngitis has its own defining symptoms and characteristics that must be recognized.
It usually has a higher incidence during the winter season, since respiratory tract diseases are more common in this season of cold and sudden temperature changes. But there are also other causes that can be avoided in order not to develop laryngitis.
- Related: “The 10 differences between flu and cold”.
What is laryngitis?
While it is not a serious condition, it causes discomfort that can last for days.. Fortunately, there are treatments to alleviate the symptoms and feel enough improvement to continue with daily life.
Although laryngitis is uncomplicated, you should be alert to any change or situation that seems to make it worse. Do not hesitate to visit your doctor, who will be able to diagnose the condition and prescribe the appropriate treatment for each case.
Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx.. Because of the location where the discomfort is perceived, it is often confused with pharyngitis or tonsillitis. The big difference is that the inflammation of the larynx also affects the function of the vocal cords, so the voice is affected.
The larynx is located between the trachea and the pharynx and one of its main functions is the emission of sounds at will, which allows us to speak. This is because the vocal cords are part of the larynx.
The reason why the larynx is commonly affected when there are respiratory diseases is because the larynx is part of the respiratory system. Hence, inflammations in the larynx can be caused by diseases such as influenza.
Another fundamental function of the larynx is to protect the lower airways, as it is located before these delicate airways acting as a line of defense, to not allow infections to go down to the lungs and bronchi.
This is what our larynx looks like.
There are several factors that could cause laryngitis. Although the most common is respiratory tract infection, this organ can be affected for other reasons and generate discomfort and pain.
Some causes of laryngitis are totally preventable and, especially in children, it is necessary to take the necessary precautionary measures to avoid damaging this important organ. As already mentioned, laryngitis does not usually have complications, but in children it requires more attention.
1. Respiratory tract infections
As already explained, the most common cause of laryngitis is infection by viruses or bacteria.. Thus, when there is flu or cold, there may also be an inflammation of the larynx as a consequence of the primary infection.
2. Excessive or inappropriate use of the voice
Using the voice too loudly for long periods of time can lead to laryngitis.. Even speaking at a normal volume for too long, especially if we are congested, as the air passing through the larynx is drier, can cause inflammation of the larynx.
Gastroesophageal reflux is a cause of laryngitis.. Especially when it is a chronic reflux and not a one-time event, also known as acute. Because stomach acid rises up into the esophagus, the larynx can be affected, irritated and inflamed.
4. Allergic reaction
Some symptoms of allergies involve the larynx, causing it to become inflamed.. Not all allergic persons present the same symptoms, but some of them report that they feel a “closed throat” when they come into contact with their allergen.
5. Aerosol medications
Some diseases are treated with aerosolized medications that can irritate the larynx.. If ingestion of these aerosols is frequent, the mucus in the larynx is altered, causing irritation and inflammation.
It is important to know the symptoms of laryngitis in order not to confuse it with another disease. As already mentioned, laryngitis usually does not present major complications and its symptoms may last little more than a few days. its symptoms may last little more than five days..
However, it is important to be attentive, especially in children, because if in addition to the symptoms of laryngitis there is difficulty breathing, fever or a sharp whistling sound when breathing, then it is urgent to visit the doctor or the emergency department.
1. Dry cough
Dry cough is a symptom of laryngitis. Laryngitis would not necessarily produce excessive phlegm or mucus, causing a dry cough, recognizable because no phlegm is heardThis is also known as an irritative cough.
Hoarseness or weakness of the voice
Another clear symptom of laryngitis is that the voice is affected. the voice is affectedThe voice may sound hoarse, be very weak or even lose the ability to speak or generate any sound, except at the moment of coughing.
3. Throat pain or dryness
When there is laryngitis, there is pain or dryness in the throat. Also There may also be a tickling or a distinct feeling of irritation.. Any of these symptoms that are accompanied by the above symptoms are clear evidence of laryngitis.
4. Barking cough in children
When laryngitis occurs in children, the cough is perceived as “metallic” or “barking” .. This is so named because of the similarity to a kennel cough and can be very worrisome. This type of laryngitis can be “croupy” or “shrill” and if it also generates respiratory difficulty or we perceive a whistling sound when breathing, we must go immediately to the doctor.
If there are no major complications for laryngitis, it can be treated at home. As long as we keep an eye out for variations or complications, inflammation in the larynx requires some simple care that will help to reduce the discomfort..
As already mentioned, this disease can last for about 5 days. From then on, the intensity may decrease. If this is not the case, then it is best to go to the doctor for a thorough analysis to rule out another type of disease.
1. Analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs
Laryngitis discomfort can be treated with over-the-counter medications. This is a treatment to alleviate only the symptoms, since in the case of laryngitis due to infection, it is only necessary to wait for the life cycle of the virus or bacteria to pass. It is important not to self-medicate with antibiotics..
2. Do not talk
or talking until the voice is restored, is a good way to take care of the larynx. It is not enough to speak slowly or to whisper, because This also strains the vocal cords, which are inflamed during laryngitis. that during a laryngitis are inflamed. It is best to let them rest to recover the voice faster and suffer less discomfort.
Drinking plenty of fluids helps to relieve the dryness characteristic of laryngitis. It is necessary to moisturize the area and liquids are our greatest ally for this.. It is always better than avoiding carbonated beverages, but if we get tired of drinking water, preparing soft drinks such as water with lemon can help hydrate our larynx.
4. Sucking on lozenges
There are specific lozenges available for sale to soothe the irritation and help the voice recover. They are usually very effective in the short term, although at home we can prepare some honey with lemon to produce the same effect.
5. Do not smoke or be around smokers
In addition to being very bad for your long-term health, tobacco smoke easily irritates your airways, tobacco smoke easily irritates the respiratory tract.. During an episode of laryngitis, it is best to stay away from cigarettes, actively and passively. Otherwise, we may prolong laryngitis or develop more serious complications.