Laryngitis is a common problem that results in a very hoarse voice or a complete loss of the voice. Laryngitis is usually caused by viral infections such as colds or flu, or by bacteria. Persistent overuse of your voice can also cause laryngitis. During laryngitis, inflammation and swelling of the vocal cords prevent you from speaking normally. A sore or scratchy throat often accompanies laryngitis. If you smoke, have allergies, or use your voice heavily you will be more prone to getting laryngitis.
Laryngitis will usually get better after a few days of home treatment, but your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to treat any infection. Be sure to check with your doctor if you develop a fever. Should hoarseness last longer than seven days, you should see an otolarynogologist for an examination of your vocal cords. Persistent hoarseness could signal a more serious problem.
Home treatment of laryngitis:
- Do not use your voice for several days
- Speak in a whisper to communicate (or write)
- Use a humidifier to help relieve the tightness in your throat
- Don’t drink alcohol or smoke until your voice is better
- Drink plenty of fluids, including water, fruit juice and tea
- Throat lozenges will help keep your throat moist and feeling better