What You Need To Know About Laryngitis
Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality healthcare, uncovers five things you may have yet to learn about laryngitis, shedding light on its causes, symptoms, and potential treatment options.
“Laryngitis is a common condition that affects the voice box, causing inflammation and resulting in voice hoarseness or loss,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.
“While most people are familiar with the basics of laryngitis, there are several lesser-known aspects of this condition that are worth exploring.”
Viral Infections Often Cause Laryngitis
One of the primary causes of laryngitis is viral infections. Approximately 80% of laryngitis cases are attributed to viruses such as the common cold or influenza. These infections lead to vocal cords swelling and irritation, resulting in voice changes.
It is crucial to note that while viral laryngitis typically resolves on its own within a week or two, it is highly contagious, so taking necessary precautions to prevent its spread is essential.
Overuse or Misuse of The Voice Can Trigger Laryngitis
While viral infections are a common cause, overusing or misusing the voice can also contribute to laryngitis. Excessive shouting, singing loudly, or speaking for extended periods without rest can strain the vocal cords, leading to inflammation and subsequent hoarseness.
Professional voice users, such as singers, teachers, and public speakers, are particularly susceptible to developing laryngitis due to the demands placed on their vocal cords.
Adequate vocal rest, proper vocal techniques, and avoiding abusing your vocal cords are crucial for preventing laryngitis in these individuals.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) Can Be a Hidden Cause
GERD, commonly known as acid reflux, is where stomach acid flows back into the oesophagus, causing irritation and inflammation.
Surprisingly, GERD can also manifest as laryngitis. This phenomenon, known as laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), occurs when the acid reaches the throat and larynx, resulting in symptoms like chronic cough, hoarseness, or a sensation of a lump in the throat.
In these cases, treating underlying GERD or LPR is vital to managing and preventing recurrent laryngitis.
Laryngitis Can Be a Symptom of A More Severe Condition
While laryngitis is often a temporary and self-limiting condition, it can sometimes indicate an underlying health issue. Chronic laryngitis or recurrent bouts may indicate a more severe condition, such as vocal cord nodules, polyps, or laryngeal cancer.
Suppose laryngitis persists for more than two weeks or recurs frequently. In that case, it is crucial to consult an ear, nose, and throat specialist for a thorough evaluation to rule out any underlying pathology.
Laryngitis Can Be a Side Effect Of Certain Medications
In some cases, laryngitis can be a side effect of certain medications. Medications like inhaled corticosteroids used for asthma treatment or medications with drying effects, such as antihistamines, can cause vocal cord dryness and inflammation, leading to laryngitis.
If you suspect your medication is causing laryngitis symptoms, consult your healthcare provider for alternative options or adjustments to your current treatment plan.
Voice Hygiene Practices Are Essential for Preventing Laryngitis
Maintaining good voice hygiene is critical to preventing laryngitis and maintaining vocal health.
Here are five practices to concider
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids helps keep the vocal cords lubricated.
- Avoid irritants: Limit exposure to smoke, allergens, and chemical fumes, as they irritate the vocal cords.
- Practice proper vocal technique: Learn and utilise effective breathing techniques and vocal warm-ups to reduce strain on the vocal cords.
- Take vocal breaks: Resting the voice periodically, especially during excessive use, can prevent vocal fatigue and potential laryngitis.
- Avoid throat clearing: Instead of forcefully clearing the throat, try swallowing or sipping water to alleviate irritation.
About Affinity Health
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