Avatar photo

Compiled by Asanda Mbayimbayi

Five things you need to know about Laryngitis

Laryngitis is highly contagious, so it's crucial to take necessary precautions to avoid spreading it to others.

Laryngitis is when your voice box, called the larynx, gets inflamed or irritated. It can make your voice sound hoarse or you might lose your voice completely, making it hard to speak.

Laryngitis can happen because of things like infections, using your voice too much or too loudly, allergies, or being around things that irritate your throat.

Laryngitis facts

According to Affinity Health CEO Muray Helwett, most people know the basics about laryngitis, but there are several lesser-known facts worth learning about.

1. Viral infections often cause laryngitis

Viral infections are a major cause of laryngitis, accounting for around 80% of cases.

Common colds or the flu are examples of viruses that can lead to laryngitis by causing swelling and irritation of the vocal cords, resulting in changes to the voice.

It is important to remember that viral laryngitis usually gets better by itself within a week or two. However, it is highly contagious so it’s crucial to take necessary precautions to avoid spreading it to others.

2. Overuse of voice can trigger Laryngitis

Aside from viral infections, laryngitis can also be caused by excessive or improper use of the voice.

Shouting, singing loudly, or talking for long periods without giving the vocal cords a break can strain them, causing inflammation and resulting in a hoarse voice.

People who rely on their voices for their professions, like singers, teachers, and public speakers, are especially prone to developing laryngitis due to the strain placed on their vocal cords.

To prevent laryngitis, it’s important for these individuals to practice proper vocal techniques, give their voices enough rest, and avoid putting excessive strain on their vocal cords.

3. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

GERD, also known as acid reflux, refers to the condition in which stomach acid moves backwards into the oesophagus, leading to irritation and inflammation.

Interestingly, GERD can also present itself as laryngitis.

This occurrence, referred to as laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), happens when the acid reaches the throat and voice box, causing symptoms such as a persistent cough, hoarseness, or a feeling of a lump in the throat.

In such instances, it is crucial to address the underlying GERD or LPR to effectively manage and prevent recurring episodes of laryngitis.

ALSO READ: Understanding schizophrenia and it’s impact

4. Symptom of a more severe condition

Although laryngitis is typically a temporary and naturally resolving condition, it can occasionally serve as a sign of an underlying health problem.

The presence of chronic laryngitis or frequent episodes might suggest a more serious condition, such as vocal cord nodules, polyps, or laryngeal cancer.

If laryngitis persists for over two weeks or reoccurs frequently, it is essential to seek a comprehensive evaluation from an ear, nose, and throat specialist.

This consultation aims to investigate and eliminate any underlying pathological causes.

5. Side effects of certain medications

In certain instances, laryngitis can arise as a result of specific medications

Certain drugs, such as inhaled corticosteroids prescribed for asthma management or medications with drying properties like antihistamines, can induce dryness and inflammation of the vocal cords, resulting in laryngitis.

If you suspect that your medication is responsible for the symptoms of laryngitis, it is advisable to seek guidance from your healthcare provider.

They can explore alternative options or make adjustments to your current treatment plan accordingly.

ALSO READ: Are you suffering from trauma? Here are 8 trauma signs

6. Preven laryngitis with hygiene

It is crucial to prioritise proper voice care in order to prevent laryngitis and preserve vocal well-being. Consider the following practices

  • Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids helps keep the vocal cords lubricated.
  • Avoid irritants: Limit exposure to smoke, allergens, and chemical fumes, as they irritate the vocal cords.
  • Practice proper vocal technique: Learn and utilise effective breathing techniques and vocal warm-ups to reduce strain on the vocal cords.
  • Take vocal breaks: Resting the voice periodically, especially during excessive use, can prevent vocal fatigue and potential laryngitis.
  • Avoid throat clearing: Instead of forcefully clearing the throat, try swallowing or sipping water to alleviate irritation.

NOW READ: You might be cheating on your partner without even knowing it…

Read more on these topics

cancer healthcare smoking

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits