What is Laryngitis?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Laryngitis is when the larynx becomes inflamed. The voice becomes hoarse and there can possibly be a complete loss of voice because the vocal cords become irritated by the inflammation. Laryngitis can be acute; lasting less than three days or it can be chronic; lasting for more than three weeks.

There are a handful of symptoms for laryngitis:

• Having a dry, sore throat.

• Difficulty swallowing liquids or food.

• Constantly coughing; this ironically can cause laryngitis itself.

• Swelling of the larynx.

• Swollen lymph glands in the throat, face or chest.

• Having a cold or flu-like symptoms; this ironically can also cause laryngitis.

• Suffering from a fever.

When should you see a doctor? If you begin to cough up green or yellow phlegm or even blood; you should consult a doctor immediately. If you have a history of breathing problems, such as having to sit upright while breathing, you should see your doctor as quickly as possible because laryngitis could be a life threatening problem.
There are plenty of causes of laryngitis. They are excessive smoking, coughing, alcohol consumption, an infection from a fungus, inflammation due to overuse of the vocal cords and a viral infection.
There are a variety of different treatments for laryngitis. Some of them are breathing in moist air, resting your voice, drink plenty of fluids, treat the underlying cause of laryngitis and suck on lozenges. You can breath in moist air by sitting in the bathroom with the shower running on hot or putting hot water in a bowl and breathing in the steam. Drinking plenty of fluids helps to prevent dehydration, treating alcoholism or excessive smoking will help rid of laryngitis and sucking on lozenges makes the throat wetter and takes away the dryness and soreness.
Sometimes acid reflux can lead to laryngitis. If so, taking pills to prevent or downplay the symptoms of acid reflux can help against laryngitis. Such pills are Zantac or Prilosec.
With laryngitis, more so young children and older adults, the risk of your throat swelling shut is great. If this occurs get to a hospital as soon as possible. The treatment for a swelled shut throat is a breathing tube being placed in your throat, the patient being placed on a ventilator and the patient will have an IV in them. The IV will be pumping antibiotics and more than likely steroids into the patient’s body.
Laryngitis, like having a cold, is almost impossible to defend against. One precaution most people take is constantly washing their hands before they touch their face or their mouth. Young children should receive the influenza vaccine which can help prevent this sickness which can possibly be deadly for children at a very young age.
If the symptoms of laryngitis do not go away after 2-3 weeks you should consult a doctor again. Why? There is a slim possibility that there could be a tumor in your throat that needs further medical attention before it develops into anything life threatening.


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