Her Check-Up: The Low-down On Laryngitis
There’s nothing worse than having a sore throat or swollen glands. As winter starts to die down, and people embrace spring, the season of sore throats and laryngitis comes around.
So how do you know the difference between a sore throat that can be solved with hot water and honey, and laryngitis?
Read on for some top tips to spot your symptoms and how to treat this viral throat infection.
What is laryngitis?
Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx (which joins the back of the throat to the trachea.)
Laryngitis is most commonly due to a viral infection. Symptoms of laryngitis include:
- Loss of voice
- Sore throat
- Mild fever
- Persistent cough
For more severe laryngitis, you may also have an infected throat (pharyngitis), tonsillitis, a cold or flu-like illness.
Image via NHS
How do you treat laryngitis?
Laryngitis usually lasts 3-4 days but can be more persistent if the throat and larynx are not rested. As laryngitis is a viral infection, antibiotics won’t help ease symptoms.
There are some measures you can take to lessen the discomfort or pain of the infection.
- Drinking fluids: Although your throat might be dry and swollen, or it could be difficult to swallow, ensure you keep drinking fluids. This will prevent dehydration, which could add to migraines or flu-like symptoms.
- Paracetamol or ibuprofen: Taking tablets (as prescribed by the pharmacist) will help alleviate any pain and help reduce inflammation of the larynx. Paracetamol can also help regulate pain, headache and fever like symptoms.
- Gargling aspirin: Dissolving aspirin in water, gargle in the back of your throat for 3-4mins. Although this will not treat the larynx, it can help reduce the inflammation and soreness of a dry or burning throat. This can be repeated 3-4 times a day.
- Over-the-counter treatment: Speak to your pharmacist who may be able to recommend lozenges, throat sprays or oral mouth washes to help manage pain and discomfort. Remember to follow all guidelines for medication and inform the pharmacist if you have been taking a dose of tablets or any other medication for your symptoms.
What else should you know about laryngitis?
If you’re battling a bout of laryngitis, be sure to rest your voice. If you overuse your voice when the vocal cords are inflamed, it may make the inflammation worse taking longer for your normal speaking voice to return.
Although overusing your voice is unlikely to do any permanent damage, it may take longer for your normal voice to return or cause strain and discomfort while you overcome the virus.
If you are a singer, rest it fully until symptoms have completely gone so as not to damage your vocal chords or put too much pressure on your voice.
Is laryngitis contagious?
Laryngitis is only contagious if it is caused by an infection. Laryngitis, upper respiratory infections, and colds are commonly a viral infection spread by aerosol droplets so are spread by nature rather than person.
If you are concerned about a sore throat or symptoms, speak to your pharmacist who may offer some over-the-counter medicine to tackle any discomfort.