If you experience a change in your voice, hoarseness, or a constant rawness to your throat, you may have laryngitis. You can expect in most cases to have symptoms for up to two weeks. In more serious cases, laryngitis can turn into a chronic illness. It is important to understand what causes laryngitis and laryngitis symptoms as they can mimic other conditions. As it is a treatable health issue, we will uncover laryngitis home remedies as well.
Scenes from film and television productions often portray laryngitis as a voiceless problem. While this can be a result, not all cases will rob you of your voice.
What Is Laryngitis?
Laryngitis happens when your voice box, or larynx, becomes infected, irritated, or inflamed. The larynx is located where your mouth and trachea meet. Your epiglottis, the flap of cartilage found at the opening, protects it from saliva and food products. Within your larynx are your vocal cords, which are controlled by muscles to create the sounds we make. Any change in the air flow will cause your voice to sound raspy and hoarse.
When your vocal cords are affected, the sounds from your voice box will become unclear and hoarse. Depending on the damage, you can lose your voice. This is known as a chronic case of laryngitis. Any hoarseness that is constant and long-lasting can be an indication of a serious health problem.
To understand how laryngitis develops, it is important to distinguish between chronic and acute cases.
1. Acute Laryngitis
Acute cases last less than three weeks and are resolved once the underlying cause is treated. This temporary condition is usually caused by viral infections such as a cold or flu, bacterial infections, or vocal cord strain from overusing your voice.
2. Chronic Laryngitis
Chronic laryngitis is a more serious issue as symptoms last for more than three weeks and can lead to other conditions. Damage or strain injury to the vocal cords can happen with exposure over time to environment irritants such as smoke, chemical fumes, and allergens. The most common cause is acid reflux. Other serious causes can be linked to bacterial and fungal infections, chronic sinusitis, regular overuse of voice, smoking, and alcohol abuse.
The hoarseness associated with chronic laryngitis can be triggered by cancer or the physical changes of the vocal cords as we age. A stroke, injury, and tumor can also affect the condition of the vocal cords.
Signs and Symptoms of Laryngitis
Depending on the severity of your laryngitis, you can expect your symptoms to last at least several days.
- Tingling sensation in throat
- Dry cough or dry throat
- Sore throat
- Loss of voice
If you experience any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
- Breathing trouble
- Blood in phlegm
- Lasting fever
- Trouble swallowing
- Increasing pain
Laryngitis Home Remedies
As symptoms begin to unfold, there are several natural remedies for laryngitis and steps you can take to lessen the symptoms and prevent further complications.
To loosen any mucus and attack bacteria and viral infections, use lemon juice and salt water for an effective gargle solution.
Mother Nature’s gold has many health benefits to help your laryngitis symptoms including its anti-inflammatory properties. The best treatment is eating raw honey. To enjoy as a warm drink, extract the juice from half of a lemon and combine with one to two tablespoons of raw honey in hot water.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
The irritation and infection causing your laryngitis can be treated with the simple household ingredient of apple cider vinegar. Drink ½ cup of a mixture of two tablespoons of the vinegar and one tablespoon of honey, twice daily. Adding a bit of cayenne pepper will help as well. You can also add one tablespoon of vinegar to warm water and gargle with it throughout the day.
Drink, eat, or chew fresh ginger to relieve a painful throat. For ginger tea, boil ginger root for 10 minutes before straining the pot. Once it cools, add lemon juice and honey. To get the benefits of the ginger directly, suck on candied ginger or eat a few slices of fresh ginger root.
To reduce inflammation, create your own expectorant syrup. Heat three to four diced onions with four cups of water until thickened. Add five tablespoons of the mixture to a glass of warm water, one tablespoon of honey, and lemon juice. Drink slowly.
Additional at-home steps to relieve symptoms include:
- Avoiding the use of your voice as much as possible.
- Keeping your throat moist by drinking alcohol- and caffeine-free fluids.
- Gargling with warm salt water or use lozenges.
- Using a humidifier to maintain moisture level in the air. Breathe in steam from a hot shower or use a DIY steamer with a bowl of hot water and a towel draped over your head.
- Avoiding smoking or second-hand smoke.
- Avoiding decongestants.
- Consuming vitamin A, E, and C containing foods to moisten the lining of your mouth and throat.
- Avoiding clearing your throat as it can increase swelling of vocal cords.
- Washing your hands often to fend off any viral infections such as a cold.
If your symptoms become worse or last more than three weeks, visit your doctor to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment. In a rare case, you may need to seek therapy from a speech-language pathologist to learn how to speak without further injuring your vocal cords.
Friends, family, and co-workers will probably smile when you tell them you have laryngitis, but laryngitis is no joke when it comes to the symptoms and possible causes of your anguish.
As symptoms develop, this acute laryngitis stage may only last a few weeks. There are recommendations and home remedies to follow to help along the way. If symptoms persist, you will need to take steps to treat it as chronic laryngitis.
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Wedro, B., MD, FACEP, FAAEM, “Laryngitis,” Medicine Net; http://www.medicinenet.com/laryngitis/article.htm, last accessed February 14, 2017.
“Laryngitis,” Mayo Clinic; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/laryngitis/basics/definition/con-20021565, last accessed February 14, 2017.
“Home Remedies for Laryngitis,” Top 10 Home Remedies; http://www.top10homeremedies.com/home-remedies/home-remedies-for-laryngitis.html, last accessed February 14, 2017.