What are the solutions to prevent and fight Laryngitis this winter?
With changes in temperature and the weather every year, almost no one escapes the common colds or flu. While these issues can be treated with over the counter medicines, there is another form of the illness, much more serious and painful, laryngitis, that can really affect our social and professional life.
What exactly is Laryngitis?
Laryngitis is a condition that affects the voice box or vocal chords, where inflammation occurs due to overuse, irritation or infection from common cold or flu. It can be acute (short-term) or chronic, lasting more than three weeks. Apart from a hoarse voice, the other symptoms may include fever, cough, pain in the front neck and difficulty swallowing.
What are the causes of acute and chronic Laryngitis?
The inflammation that results in laryngitis can be caused by viral infections, environmental factors or bacterial infections. Short term or acute laryngitis is caused mainly because of the overuse or infections of the vocal chords. The most common causes include viral or bacterial infections, yelling to the point of straining the vocal chords and drinking too much alcohol. As for chronic laryngitis, it has longer-lasting effects as it is more severe and serious. It is caused by exposure to dangerous chemicals or allergens, acid reflux, smoking and regular sinus infections.
What to do if the symptoms persist for more than 2 weeks?
If the pain and other symptoms do not disappear after 2 weeks, it is imperative to consult an Otolaryngologist, who is the specialist for issues with the ear, nose and throat. This throat specialist will normally perform various tests to check all the related structures of your vocal chords. The doctor may use an endoscope for in-depth examination of your vocal chords and even perform laryngovideostroboscopy to check for abnormal voice vibration.
What are the treatments of Laryngitis?
Treatment of laryngitis is based on the cause and severity of the problem. In case of acute laryngitis, symptoms go away within a week without specialist treatment, as these can be treated with home remedies, including voice conservation, drinking a lot of water and avoiding smoke and alcohol. For those who use their voice for professional purposes, your specialist may prescribe medicines that can accelerate the treatment. Some serious laryngitis conditions like vocal chords polyps or paralyzed vocal chords can be treated through surgery. Otolaryngologist will also look for signs of vocal fold cancer, which, if detected and treated early, has greater chance of the throat returning to its normal function.
Prevention is the best solution to avoid getting Laryngitis
From quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption to drinking plenty of water and avoiding spicy food, there exist numerous ways of avoiding laryngitis. Another form of prevention is eating and drinking calming and preventive food like ginger tea, bananas and leafy greens. These preventive actions can calm acid reflux and avoid serious laryngitis conditions to keep you out of the doctor’s office and from losing your voice.