Have you ever had one of those days when your voice sounds raspy, gruff or frail? It may be nothing, or it may be laryngitis. Laryngitis occurs when your voice box or larynx becomes inflamed and your vocal cords are unable to vibrate properly. Fortunately, laryngitis can usually be treated at home without serious medical interventions.
What causes laryngitis?
There are many ways one can get laryngitis. It is most commonly caused by a viral infection, such as a cold. There are two types of laryngitis:
Acute laryngitis is a mild and self-limiting condition that typically lasts for a period of 3 to 7 days. Causes of acute laryngitis include:
- Viral infections
- Vocal strain such as yelling
- Bacterial infections
Chronic laryngitis persists for 3 weeks or longer. Causes of chronic laryngitis include:
- Acid reflux
- Bacterial, fungal or parasitic infection
- Chronic sinusitis
- High alcohol intake
- Exposure to inhaled irritants
How do I know if I have laryngitis?
Laryngitis may last a short time (acute) or be ongoing (chronic). The main symptoms of laryngitis are:
- Loss of voice
- Painful swallowing
- Congested or runny nose
- Dry throat
If you are experiencing any signs of acute laryngitis, you may be able to relieve these symptoms with a few home remedies.
Home Remedies for Voice Hoarseness
Drink plenty of fluids: Fluids will help keep the mucus in your throat thin and easy to clear as well as keep your throat moist, which helps decrease irritation. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as those dehydrate your throat.
Voice rest:Try going prolonged periods without speaking as this will help ease strain on your vocal cords. It is important to avoid whispering because that will put even more strain on your voice than normal speech does.
Avoid decongestants:Decongestants can dry out your throat, causing more stress on your voice.
Humidifiers: Using a humidifier is a great way to moisten the air around you. This will help soothe a dry or inflamed throat.
Moisten your throat: Moisten your throat by sucking on throat lozenges or gargling salt water. This will keep your throat hydrated and lubricated, which will allow for a quick recovery.