What are the symptoms of laryngitis?

What are the symptoms of laryngitis?

What are the symptoms of laryngitis?

Many throat conditions have similar symptoms, and that can make it difficult to tell what is ailing you[1]. This can be frustrating, but it’s worth taking the time to understand whether you have a minor illness, such as a cold or hay fever, or a more serious condition that may need the attention of a doctor. 

So what are the symptoms of laryngitis?

How to tell if you have laryngitis

Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx, commonly known as the voice box, which is located in the throat. It often results in a range of symptoms typical to throat infections, including[2]

  • A hoarse or croaky voice
  • Finding it difficult to speak – which may show itself as losing your voice altogether
  • A painful, sore throat
  • A cough
  • An ongoing feeling of needing to clear your throat

The above symptoms are those typically experienced by adults who have laryngitis. In addition to – or instead of – these, children may have the following symptoms: 

  • A mild fever or high temperature
  • Loss of appetite – both for food and drinks

In rare cases, children may also have difficulty breathing as the swollen or inflamed larynx presses on the windpipe. This is not a common symptom, but if your child is having difficulty breathing, it’s important to get medical attention as soon as possible regardless of the cause. It’s also worth seeking medical attention if you or your child has a prolonged high fever, as this may indicate you need treatment to help your body fight the infection[2]

If the affected individual is breathing with ease and hasn’t got a prolonged fever, you can treat their other symptoms as needed and monitor their condition until they recover. 

Laryngitis can be brought on by other minor illnesses such as flu or throat infections, which may make it harder to tell whether or not someone has laryngitis. If this is the case, other symptoms may be present, such as headaches, muscle aches or sneezing[2].

How long does laryngitis take to develop?

With many infections and illnesses, there is an incubation period where the disease-causing pathogen is in your body, but not yet causing symptoms. After this, symptoms may come on slowly and over a period of several days. Laryngitis, on the other hand, is one illness where the symptoms come on very quickly – sometimes in less than a day. The symptoms then typically get worse over the next two to three days as the illness develops, before beginning to ease off[2].

How long can laryngitis last?

While the severity of your symptoms may begin to ease after roughly four days, the full infection may not have run its course. In fact, in most cases, it takes between one and two weeks to fully recover from laryngitis. This is known as acute laryngitis, meaning it develops quickly and doesn’t last long[2]. This type of throat infection can usually be managed without visiting a doctor by using over the counter medicines such as Ultra Chloraseptic’s soothing anaesthetic throat spray for fast-acting relief. 

In some cases, acute laryngitis may develop into chronic laryngitis – an infection which lasts for a longer time or recurs. This occurs more often when the laryngitis is caused by a long term condition such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD), prolonged overuse or straining of the vocal cords, or smoking[3]. If your laryngitis lasts for longer than three weeks, you should consult your doctor, as there may be an underlying condition exacerbating your illness. You may need further treatment to help your body fight an infection.


[1] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sore-throat/

[2] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/laryngitis/

[3] https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/ears-nose-and-throat/laryngitis/#causes-of-laryngitis