Laryngitis is inflammation of the larynx, which can cause pain and loss of, or change in, the voice.
- Hoarseness and loss of voice
- Pain when speaking
- Raw feeling in the throat
- A constant need to clear the throat
Common causes include:
- Infection (viral or bacterial)
- Exposure to certain chemicals or toxins e.g. cigarette smoke
- Over-use (as with singing or yelling loudly or for long periods)
- Gastric reflux
Viral laryngitis usually goes away by itself in a few days without any treatment except rest for the voice. However, if your physician diagnoses a bacterial infection, you’ll most likely be prescribed antibiotics – be sure to complete the entire course.
No medication is necessary if your laryngitis is caused by simple overuse; in that case, the best solution is to rest your voice.
Improve your body’s resistance to allergy and infection with vitamin C.
If an infection is present, consider also supplementing your diet with vitamins A and E, the herb echinacea, and the minerals zinc and selenium.
Herbal lozenges are soothing to the inflamed throat.
If the problem is caused by reflux, then a combination of slippery elm and peppermint oil can help.
Drinking plenty of filtered water, eating lots of raw fruits and vegetables, and reducing your intake of refined carbohydrates may help speed your recovery from laryngitis.
Rest your voice as much as possible and drink plenty of fluids, such as water or tea mixed with a little honey and lemon to lubricate your throat.
Some people also find a gargle of salt water or sage tea to be of assistance.
Do not smoke, and avoid smoky environments.
Avoid using your voice for long periods of time.
Consult your health care professional if your laryngitis lasts for more than a week.
A sharp barking cough associated with hoarseness in a child may indicate croup. Consult your health care professional.