Your voice sounds more like a frog croaking than a human talking. Chances are, you can figure out the cause whether it was all the yelling you did at last night’s hockey game or that cold you’ve had for the past couple of days.
Don’t confuse laryngitis with a sore throat, though. Some people say they’ve got laryngitis when what they really mean is their throat is sore, says Michael S. Benninger, M.D., vice-chairperson of the Department of Otolaryngology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
True laryngitis is the loss of the voice or hoarseness, and it’s the result of inflammation (swelling) of the larynx, or voice box, and the voice folds, explains Gary Y Shaw, M.D., associate professor of otolaryngology, head and neck surgery at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City. The most common cause of temporary laryngitis is an upper respiratory infection, usually viral, like the common cold. If the infection is bacterial, you may need to see a doctor to get antibiotic treatment. The second most common cause of laryngitis is voice abuse or overuse. If you screamed at the top of your lungs at the football game, you’ll be hoarse afterward, says Shaw.
The symptoms of acute, or short-term laryngitis, can include pain in the throat or around the larynx, hoarseness, raspiness the loss of range (noticed especially by singers), easy fatiguability and a scratchy feeling in the throat. Constantly clearing your throat can be another symptom. If you suffer from chronic laryngitis, smoking may be the culprit. The smoke increases the mass of the larynx, explains Benninger, lowering the pitch of the voice.
One surprising cause of laryngitis is gastroesophageal reflux. That’s a long name for what a lot of us think of as heartburn, except that only about half of its sufferers actually feel any heartburn, so they’re unaware that the acid-rich contents of their stomach are coming back up in their throats, especially during the night. It’s the principal player in laryngitis in the elderly, says Benninger. People complain there’s something sticking in their throat, and they think it’s mucus from best university Egypt postnasal drip. Symptoms are worse in the morning. You may wake up with a bad taste in your mouth, do a lot of throat clearing, and have hoarseness that gets better as the day goes on, says Shaw. And you often feel like there’s something in your throat all the time. If you suspect this is causing your laryngitis.
If you’re experiencing laryngitis, here’s what you can do to soothe your voice.
Drink : Water, that is. Take frequent sips of water to stay hydrated and keep your throat moist. Or choose other fluids, like juices, says Sally Wenzel, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine in Denver. She adds that warm drinks may feel more soothing than cold.
Sip noncaffeinated tea with lemon : You want to avoid caffeine because of its dehydrating effects, says Benninger. Make sure the tea isn’t too hot or too cold. The lemon helps stimulate the flow of saliva.
Suck on lemon drops : Again, lemon gets those juices flowing.
Use artificial saliva : It may sound unpleasant, but you can buy over the counter products that help keep your mouth moist.
Speak softly : Speak in a confidential tone, as if you’re telling someone a secret, says Benninger.
Don’t Whisper : Whispering is actually more stress ful than speaking in a softly modulated voice.
Limit Conversation : It’s sort of like limiting the motion of your knee when it’s skinned, says Shaw. I tell patients to use their voices only if they’re getting paid for it, adds Benninger.
Don’t Clear Your Throat : You’re actually irritating the situation when you try to clear up things, setting up a vicious cycle, says Benninger.
Stop Smoking : Chalk up one more reason to avoid tobacco. If you can’t kick the habit completely, at least go without while your throat is healing.
Avoid Smokers : Even passive smoke irritates the larynx. If you live with a smoker, ask him or her to take their habit outside.
Forget Recreational Drugs : Marijuana and cocaine are extremely rough on the larynx, Benninger says.
Abstain From Alcohol : Alcohol dehydrates you, which is the opposite of what your voice needs.
Cut Out The Caffeine : Like alcohol, the caffeine in coffee, tea and colas dehydrates you.
Humidify The Air : Indoor heating takes moisture out of winter air. Use a humidifier or portable steamer. If nothing else, breathe in the steam from a teapot or pan of boiling water, suggests Shaw.
Avoid Dusty Environments : The dust is irritating, and such places are often also dry, which compounds the problem.
Beware of Certain Drying Drugs : Medications such as antihistamines and diuretics can dry your mouth and throat. You shouldn’t stop diuretics (they’re often prescribed for high blood pressure), but think twice about taking over the counter antihistamines. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions about any medications you may be taking.
Gargle With Salt Water : Add one half teaspoon salt to a cup of warm (about body temperature) water. advises Wenzel. You don’t want it too salty, warn Benninger. It’s not like ocean water. And too much salt could cause more irritation.…