What are the Signs and Symptoms of Laryngitis?

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Laryngitis?

Laryngitis is the inflammation of voice cords in the voice box, in other words, it is the inflammation of the larynx. A larynx is an organ that resembles a tube and is located in the trachea (windpipe). The Adam’s apple is the protrusion of the larynx in the throat.

Laryngitis is the swelling of the larynx (voice box), a body organ which resembles a tube and is located at the way in of trachea (windpipe).  The Adam’s apple is the protrusion of larynx in the throat.

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The voice box’s two vocal cords (membranes) vibrate when air goes through between them.  When one is affected by laryngitis, it becomes hard to make sounds when speaking or sometimes there is even the loss of voice because of the swelling of the membranes.

In addition to difficulty in making sounds when trying to speak and the loss of voice, laryngitis patients may experience painful throat, slight fever, and headache. Laryngitis can be short term or long term but for most cases it starts quickly and the symptoms subside after 2-3 weeks. In the case of long term or chronic laryngitis symptoms may last longer than 2-3 weeks.

There a various causes of acute and chronic laryngitis. Some of them are the following:

  • Viral infection that cause inflammation of the vocal cords.
  • Voice overuse, excessive talking or singing or shouting loudly.
  • Prolonged consumption of alcohol
  • Excessive smoking and exposure to smoke
  • Breathing in polluted air or other irritants in the air
  • Excessive coughing
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease can also cause reflux laryngitis and a chronic cough
  • Irritation of the vocal cords
  • Constant use of inhalers
  • Infections with certain parasites
  • Chronic sinusitis


Symptoms of laryngitis

The most common symptoms that are characteristic of a person suffering from laryngitis are the hoarseness of voice, throat pain or the complete loss of voice. The following are the various symptoms of laryngitis:

  • Respiratory tract infection or a cold or flu
  • Dry cough
  • Sore and itchy throat
  • Fever and high body temperature
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Pain while swallowing
  • Feeling of fullness in throat or neck
  • Runny nose
  • Loss of voice
  • Lumps in the throat
  • Discomfort, sleeping difficulty
  • Tickling sensation in the throat

In infants and children laryngitis often occurs along with the inflammation of the trachea and the bronchial tubes. This condition is known as croup. These structures are not fully developed in a child and hence the inflammation makes it harder for the air to pass through the upper airways, leading to a characteristic barking cough from the child (stridor) which is one way to diagnose if the child has croup or not. Croup is the viral infection of the upper airways. Symptoms of laryngitis in children are:

  • Croup
  • Hoarse barking voice
  • Fever
  • Difficulty in breathing

Symptoms of laryngitis typically get worse in the night, for children. This could cause anxiety, and discomfort which further leads to agitated children and their symptoms getting worse.

Laryngitis symptoms and treatment in children

Laryngitis symptoms in children differ narrowly from the adults’. Hoarse barking cough, fever, and sometimes an infectious throat illness (also known as croup and popular among children) are some of the forms in which laryngitis can manifest itself. In most cases croup is easily treatable, but you should consult your doctor if the illness is serious. 

Doctor’s advice should be sought if you see any of these symptoms in a child:

•    Breathing difficulty

•    Swallowing difficulties

•    Fever exceeding 103 degrees F (39.4 C)

•    Increased saliva dropping from the mouth

•    Loud sound with high pitches when breathing in.

Epiglottitis which is the condition where the lid over the windpipe gets swollen and thereby leads to air blockage to the lungs can be shown by these symptoms. The disease, which can sometimes be fatal, can affect anybody regardless of age.

In most cases Croup, laryngitis in kids, will clear up on its own in a few weeks. However if the symptoms worsen then the child might need to be hospitalized. Some common ways to treat laryngitis in kids and young adults are:

  • Keeping the child warm and comfortable
  • Giving the child plenty of fluids to keep them hydrated
  • Give mild medication to help with the fever. Medication should only be taken after consulting the doctor
  • Clear nasal congestion with the help of saltwater nose drops or a bulb syringe
  • Inhalation of warm vaporized air from a warm bath or shower, or a warm bowl of water

When to seek medical attention

Most severe laryngitis cases can be managed with individual, self-initiated care practices, for instance, speaking less and drinking a lot of fluids. You can destroy your vocal cords by straining to speak when you have severe laryngitis.  If the symptoms of laryngitis exceed two weeks, seek medical attention.

Visit your doctor when you have the following symptoms:

•    Breathing difficulties

•    Frequent coughs resulting in blood in saliva

•    Persistent fever

•    Increased pain

•    Swallowing problems

Adults can also get relief from their symptoms with the help of some treatment options that are similar to the ones for a child with laryngitis. If you want to talk while infected with laryngitis then you should speak in the normal voice and not whisper as this makes the condition worsen by putting more strain on the vocal cords. Adults can also gargle with warm water or in some cases take medications to deal with the pain.

Seek quick doctor’s advice if your child shows the following symptoms:

•    Produces noisy, high-pitched breathing sounds when breathing in (stridor)

•    Abnormally drops more saliva from the mouth

•    Swallowing troubles

•    Breathing problems

•    Fever exceeding 103 F (39.4 C)

Mostly, laryngitis is treated by resting your voice, breathing in vaporized or humidified air, as well as the use of some natural or home-made remedies.

Once you see any sign or symptom, it is vital that a person seeks expert medical advice so that the issue is dealt with at an initial stage, because as they say, a stitch in time saves nine. Preventing Laryngitis at an early stage can help a person immensely as if it reaches a later stage, it can cause a lot of distress.