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What is Laryngitis?

BY READERS DIGEST

1st Jan 2015 Health Conditions

What is Laryngitis?

Your throat is sore and you can't make a sound. You've got laryngitis–an inflammation of the larynx (voice box), the part of the windpipe that houses your vocal cords.

 

Normally, the vocal cords open and shut when you speak. When they swell, they vibrate differently, which causes hoarseness.

What causes laryngitis?

Along with overusing your voice, laryngitis can be caused by colds and other viral infections, smoking, allergies or a sinus infection, exposure to irritants such as dust or fumes, and some medical conditions such as bronchitis and heartburn.

There are plenty of treatments and remedies to relieve the symptoms of laryngitis. But whatever you do, resist the urge to cough or clear your throat. Either can damage your vocal cords. Try to suppress the feeling by sipping water or simply swallowing.

Severe laryngitis

Usually laryngitis isn't serious and you'll have your voice back in a few days. But if you're still hoarse after 4 or 5 days, let your doctor know.

Persistent, unexplained hoarseness needs evaluation, especially if you smoke. It can be a sign of cancer. Also see your doctor if you're coughing up blood or wheezing, or if your laryngitis is accompanied by pain so severe that you have trouble swallowing your saliva. The upper part of your larynx may be swelling so much that it could block your breathing passages and become life threatening.

 

 

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