How to treat laryngitis

How to treat laryngitis

How to treat laryngitis

Laryngitis occurs when the vocal cords or voice box become irritated or swollen. The main symptoms include a sore throat, a hoarse voice, a cough that won’t go away, and the need to clear your throat often. You could even lose your voice altogether. Laryngitis can cause a lot of pain and discomfort – so how can you treat it?

How to get rid of laryngitis 

In most cases, laryngitis usually goes away by itself within one to two weeks without needing to see your doctor[1]. To aid your recovery, there are a number of things you can try to help ease your symptoms so that you start to feel better[2].

  • Keep talking to a minimum

To give your vocal cords a chance to heal, it helps to keep talking to a minimum. Resting your voice and only speaking softly when necessary can reduce your discomfort and help speed up your recovery – but don’t whisper as this could end up putting more strain on your larynx[1]

  • Drink plenty of fluids

Staying hydrated is essential as you recover from laryngitis. You should aim to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, even if it feels painful to swallow. It’s best to avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol[2]

  • Try an over-the-counter treatment

Available from your local pharmacy or supermarket, there are a number of over-the-counter treatments you can try to alleviate your symptoms. For instance, you could take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. These medicines work to ease aches and pains, as well as reduce fever[3].

You could also try treatments that have been designed to target a specific symptom. For example, Ultra Chloraseptic’s Honey and Lemon throat spray contains an anaesthetic which works to quickly numb the pain associated with a sore throat. Throat sprays can be suitable for children as well as adults. For example, Ultra Chloraseptic’s children’s throat spray has a specially designed sugar-free, blackcurrant flavour formula. Suitable for children aged six years and over, it works to relieve pain fast, easing discomfort and irritation for little ones with sore throats. 

  • Gargle salt water

Gargling salt water is another way to help soothe a sore throat caused by laryngitis. Doing this can help reduce inflammation in the throat, encouraging the area to heal quickly[4]. To do this at home, simply dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water, then gargle the solution in your mouth. You should always spit out the solution – do not swallow it. You can repeat these steps as often as you feel necessary. 

  • Use a humidifier 

Using a humidifier at home can help reduce the irritation caused by laryngitis[1]. This electrical device is designed to add moisture to the air, which in turn can help heal inflamed vocal cords and ultimately soothe your sore throat. You may even want to position a humidifier in your bedroom to use at night to help you sleep better.

Why do I keep getting laryngitis? 

Laryngitis is usually caused by a viral infection, like a cold or the flu. In some cases, it can be linked to other illnesses such as tonsillitis and pharyngitis. In this instance, this is known as acute laryngitis. This means that your symptoms develop suddenly but only last for a short period of time, from a few days to a couple of weeks.

However, in some cases, you may find that you suffer from this condition on a more frequent basis. This is referred to as long-term, or chronic, laryngitis – but why does this happen?

There could be a few reasons why you keep getting laryngitis. For example, smoking and alcohol misuse can dry out and irritate your larynx[2]. It can also be caused by an allergic reaction to substances like dust, chemicals, toxins and fumes[1]. Laryngitis can even be caused by an underlying health problem such as gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD)[2]. This is when the acid in the stomach leaks out and rises up into the throat where it can irritate the larynx. 

If your laryngitis symptoms persist and do not improve after two weeks, or you keep developing this condition, you should speak to your doctor. They will be able to carry out further assessment to work out what is causing your laryngitis. In some cases, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.