Laryngitis is the inflammation of the larynx (voice box). The larynx is an organ located at the base of your throat, which can become inflamed, irritated, or swollen causing your voice to sound hoarse, or gone altogether. Laryngitis is a common condition usually the result of a cold or flu, and rarely a cause for a concern.
The larynx is an interesting organ. It not only provides us with a way to speak, and swallow, but acts as the airway to our lungs. The “Adams apple” you see on the outside of your neck is actually your larynx. No notice is given to your larynx, until the day you wake up and have difficulty speaking; then, you realize you have laryngitis.
The most common cause of laryngitis is the common cold or flu, but other causes might be: allergies, irritants in the air, smoking, chronic coughing, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), bacterial infections, or even overusing your voice. There are rarer conditions which can cause laryngitis as well; as always, if you have a condition that does not go away go visit your doctor.
The best treatment for laryngitis, is to treat the cause. Rest and lots of fluids for a cold or flu, stop smoking if you smoke, and eliminate allergic triggers. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be taken to reduce the inflammation and irritation of laryngitis. Be sure to rest your voice, and take a hot, steamy shower. Home remedies can be helpful, such as sipping tea or a teaspoon of honey.
Rarely should you be worried about laryngitis. DO visit your doctor if any of the following symptoms are present: hoarseness or loss of voice for more than 72 hours, difficulty breathing, high fever for more than 48 hours, coughing up blood,or if you are unable to drink fluids.