Laryngitis can cause a sore and scratchy throat and difficulty talking. The condition occurs when the vocal cords in the larynx become inflamed. Usually associated with sore throats, colds, or even talking too much, laryngitis has many causes and symptoms and can be contagious if associated with an infection.
People with laryngitis often develop a hoarse-sounding voice due to inflammation of the vocal cords. However, other issues can cause hoarseness, including a build-up of mucus and inflammation from post-nasal drip. The best immediate remedy for this symptom is relaxing the voice to allow the inflammation to subside.
Laryngitis can progress beyond hoarseness to result in a loss of voice or difficulty speaking loudly or without pain. A viral infection is the most common cause of this condition and symptom, and like hoarseness, the best remedy is keeping quite. However, infections may require medical examination and medication, as well.
A sore throat often develops alongside laryngitis. The throat may feel scratchy and sore, and a cough often goes hand in hand with congestion, especially if a cold is the cause of the infection. Warm liquids such as lemon or chamomile tea, throat sprays, and lozenges can help alleviate pain.
Laryngitis can cause persistent pain in the throat, or it may only flare up when swallowing. Inflammation and continued irritation can make eating and even drinking painful, and many people choose soft, smooth foods to avoid scratching the throat. Cold foods such as ice cream offer relief for some because they help numb the area. Others may prefer broths and tea. When pain begins to interfere with a person's ability to consume enough nutrients, a doctor may prescribe analgesics in liquid or pill form.
If laryngitis is caused by an infection, a fever may develop while the body works to remove the virus. By raising the temperature, the body makes itself an inhospitable host, and the virus dies. Anyone who has a fever in addition to other symptoms of laryngitis should see a doctor. He or she will likely prescribe antibiotics if a bacterial infection is the cause.
It is not uncommon to experience swelling or fullness in the throat or neck when dealing with laryngitis. The vocal cords are inflamed, and the larynx is tender, which makes it feel as though these body parts do not fit in their designated space. Analgesics can help reduce inflammation; a doctor can prescribe the best ones for each specific case.
If you have laryngitis, you may have swollen lymph nodes in your throat and neck. Your lymph nodes get swollen when there is an infection, so if you have laryngitis, chances are an infection is causing it. Your throat, particularly under the jaw, might be swollen and sensitive to the touch.
A dry cough is not only disruptive, but it can also intensify the pain of a sore and swollen throat when a person has laryngitis. Over-the-counter cough suppressants can help alleviate this symptom, as can drinking enough fluids, to keep the throat lubricated.
Along with a dry cough, the soreness, and a hoarse whisper, laryngitis can make infected individuals feel thirsty all the time. Drinking enough unsweetened liquids is important when one is sick, not only to alleviate dryness and coughing but also to make sure the body can properly flush out the infectious virus or bacteria.
Seek immediate medical attention for a high fever, or if symptoms are making it difficult to breathe. Coughing up blood, persistent fever of any degree, or trouble swallowing for more than a day or two should also prompt a visit to the doctor. These symptoms can indicate a more serious condition than laryngitis is at play. See a doctor if the hoarseness persists beyond two weeks.
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