What is laryngitis?
Most people have a sore throat once or a few times a year. A sore throat can be mild, or very painful and bothersome. It is possible that you become hoarse or lose your voice for a few days when you have a sore throat. You can also experience difficulty swallowing.
A sore throat can be caused by different things. The most common cause is a virus. Because of a virus you will get a cold and your throat becomes irritated. A sore throat can also be caused by bacteria. In both cases it is called laryngitis.
What are the symptoms of laryngitis?
- You get a sore, burning and red throat
- Sometimes you will see white spots on your tonsils
- You often become hoarse, sometimes you will lose your voice
- Often you will have swollen neck glands
- Some people get a fever
- Earache and thirst are also symptoms of laryngitis
Is laryngitis serious and should I see a doctor?
Normally the complaints of laryngitis will disappear within seven days. If this is not the case, always contact a doctor. Also always contact a doctor in the following situations:
- You have difficulty breathing (you have trouble drawing breath), or
- You have much difficulty opening your mouth, or
- You can hardly swallow anymore, or
- You have a lot of pain, or
- You have a high fever (higher than 104.9F or 40.5C), or
- You get a red skin rash, or
- You are really worried about your complaints
What can I do myself?
When you have a sore throat or laryngitis, you can do the following this to feel better more quickly:
- You can relieve the pain in your throat by drinking something cold or sucking on an ice cube. Licorice or nonmedicinal lozenges often work well too.
- You can take a painkiller, for example paracetamol. Always read the instructions!
- If you have a fever it is important that you take your rest to get better: try to sleep well, don't exercise and don't work (too much)
- Gurgling with salt water can help. Make this by adding a teaspoon of salt to a flask of (luke)warm water.
- Breathe through your nose, not your mouth. If your nose is congested, because of your cold, use a nose spray or drops.
- Give your voice some rest: don't talk to much and try to prevent scraping your throat or coughing.
- Don't smoke.
How does laryngitis affect my body?
If you have laryngitis, the larynx, also known as voice box, gets inflamed by either a virus or bacteria. This causes your throat to feel painful, irritated and show red. Your vocal cords can become irritated as well, which can make you hoarse or even cause temporary loss of voice. Sometimes, the glands in your neck swell up as well, which can result in a painful sensation in your neck. These symptoms normally disappear in seven days.