Laryngitis is a common medical issue whose symptoms are often confused with the flu or cold. The condition is actually the inflammation of the larynx, a body part used when speaking. Ultimately, this means that you have to take great care not to contract laryngitis lest it negatively affect your ability to eat and speak.
Use the following guide to help you better understand laryngitis and its signs. You will then be better prepared to know whether or not you need to go in for urgent medical care if you experience its symptoms.
What Is a Larynx?
Your larynx is more commonly referred to as your voice box, where the vocal chords reside. The larynx is responsible for helping you breathe, swallow, and talk through vibrations.
What Causes Laryngitis?
Laryngitis is divided into two categories: acute and chronic. Each type of condition has different causes.
Acute laryngitis may be caused by a viral infection, like a cold or a bacterial infection. You can also contract laryngitis by straining your voice or drinking a lot of alcohol.
On the other hand, chronic laryngitis is often caused by long-term exposure to certain irritants to your larynx. These irritants might include chemicals, allergens, and smoke. Chronic laryngitis can also be caused by sinus infections and acid reflux.
Acute laryngitis is temporary and not typically a significant condition in the long-term future. On the other hand, chronic laryngitis is more often associated with different lifestyle factors and typically lasts longer than three weeks.
What Are the Symptoms of Laryngitis?
Laryngitis is most commonly associated with a hoarse voice and coughing. You might struggle to speak as loudly as you once did. The condition is also associated with pain in your throat and a low-grade fever. You might also notice yourself clearing your throat more often, which is also not helpful in easing the condition.
What Are the Lasting Consequences of Laryngitis?
Typically, acute laryngitis has no lasting consequences. In chronic conditions, however, you might notice persistently strained cords and polyps. Additionally, laryngitis can also be linked to swollen glands.
In rare occasions, you might notice long-lasting consequences in the form of another health condition, such as croup, which occurs more often in small children.
Laryngitis may also be linked to epiglottitis, a condition that is can ultimately be fatal. Individuals with this condition experience intense swelling in the throat. These patients have trouble swallowing and breathing, and they may also produce more saliva than usual.
How Is Laryngitis Treated?
In most cases, laryngitis does not require intensive treatment. The condition most often resolves itself in about a week or so, but you should speak to a doctor if your laryngitis lasts longer than three weeks.
For acute laryngitis, you should take time off to rest for several days. You also need to stay hydrated throughout the illness and should eliminate sources of dehydration, like caffeine and alcohol.
You should seek immediate medical attention for laryngitis if you notice that breathing and swallowing are becoming increasingly difficult. If your fever rises higher than 103 degrees or you begin to drool, you need to go to urgent care. Listen for high-pitched inhalation as well.
If you do visit a medical facility, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Take note that this medication will be useful only if the condition is caused by a bacterial infection, which will be determined by your doctor.
Are you experiencing symptoms of laryngitis but are still unsure if you should visit a doctor or just wait it out? Call Access Urgent Medical Care today to speak with a professional who can help.