Did you ever have a sore and scratchy throat and couldn’t talk? Chances are it is laryngitis. Laryngitis is an inflammation or infection of the voice box (larynx) and the vocal cords it contains. This often happens after you have maybe went out all night singing karaoke or screaming on the top of your lungs at a sporting event. It could also be the result of being exposed to cold or freezing weather conditions without proper attire.
There are two different types of laryngitis-acute and chronic. The treatment for either of these is very different.
Guide to Acute Laryngitis
Although this is a condition that could result from a bacterial infection, sometimes it is just a matter of straining the voice too much. Usually in this case you just need to refrain from talking for at least a day or two. You should see a doctor though if you are concerned this condition could last longer than you hoped.
Chronic Laryngitis Guide
You are advised to see a doctor if your soar throat persists for longer than two days. However, chances are this medical professional may not diagnose your laryngitis case as chronic unless it lasts for longer than three weeks.
In the case of chronic laryngitis could be the result of being exposed to too much cigarette smoke. It could also be the result of being placed in an environment with airborne allergens, or it could be even a food allergy. In any case, follow your doctor’s care instructions exactly as given and if you have any questions you should ask during your checkup.
You may also be given specific instructions as to what to do if you are suffering chronic laryngitis as a result of over-using your voice for any reason. This is common of singers, actors, or cheerleaders, who might practice too many hours in one day.
Signs and Symptoms
- Hoarse or whispery voice, or loss of voice
- Itching, tickling, or rawness of the throat
- Constant urge to clear the throat
- Pain when speaking
Some ways to prevent or get rid of laryngitis at home include as follows:
- Set aside only a certain number of hours that you would practice performing arts numbers, stage plays, or speeches. You need to practice but even too much practice (as with most of everything else in life) is really not a good thing.
- Seek prompt medical treatment just in case your case of laryngitis is caused by a bacterial infection. Make sure your doctor carefully analyzes you though, just to be sure.
- In some rare cases, a sore throat is a result of an acid reflux (GERD) condition. You should ask your doctor which prescription medication would be the best to use in this situation.
- Try a homemade stream treatment. It may not always work, but it would work in most cases. All you need to do is fill a bowl with hot water and then breath in the steam. You could also do the same thing while breathing in moist air while taking a hot shower.
- Take plenty of rest in between times that you are singing. Rest is the one thing that helps rebuild the body’s immune system more than anything else could. Try to take a day or two of a break from singing or practicing any acting or speech exercises.
Gargle with cooled goldenseal or sage tea to ease the sore, inflamed, raspy throat that usually accompanies laryngitis. To make goldenseal tea, stir 1 teaspoon dried leaves into 1 cup boiling water; steep for 10 minutes; strain. For sage tea, chop 2 teaspoons fresh leaves and add to 1 cup boiling water. Steep for 10 to 15 minutes and strain. Both teas can be used for 2 to 3 days.
You also can try gargling with bayberry, red sage, yarrow, or chamomile teas. Make standard infusions of 1 teaspoon dried herb in 1 cup boiling water and let cool before using. Echinacea, taken internally as a tea or tincture, can blunt the discomfort of laryngitis.
The essential oils of lavender, frank incense, sandalwood, and red thyme can relieve the hoarseness and discomfort associated with laryngitis. You can add several drops to a steam inhalation or place a drop or two on a tissue or handkerchief and inhale. Alternately, you can add 3 drops of lavender, sandalwood, or lemon oil to half a glass of water and gargle with the mixture.