Health is man’s greatest wealth. Nowadays, becoming perfectly healthy is already considered a luxury for many. This is primarily due to the fact that more and more people are already prone to having different types of illnesses and diseases. Nevertheless, this is something that we have to endure as humans. However, being ill or sick can always be avoided and prevented once we are knowledgeable about these certain health problems. One common disease that affects countless individuals all over the world is laryngitis. But what is laryngitis? What are the different causes and how to treat laryngitis?
What is Laryngitis?
Laryngitis is simply defined as the inflammation of the larynx. The larynx, which is commonly known as the voice box, is located at the anterior portion of the neck, which is involved in the breathing pattern and sound production. Aside from this, the larynx also serves as a protection to the trachea to prevent food aspiration. This structure is likewise the one responsible in manipulating the pitch and volume of the produced sound and houses the vocal folds or vocal cords, which are vital for phonation. Unfortunately, this organ can also suffer from many problems such as swelling and inflammation, which can lead to the occurrence of laryngitis.
Laryngitis is a condition that can eventually lead to the complete loss of voice or the production of a hoarse sound. This is due to the irritation of the vocal chords, which greatly affects the type of sound being produced. Laryngitis is one of the major causes of dysphonia, which is a medical term for a vocal problem or disorder. Acute laryngitis usually lasts only for a few days. However, chronic laryngitis, on the other hand, can stay as long as three weeks. The latter also commonly affects middle aged individuals and is more evident in men than in women.
Causes of Laryngitis
There are actually a lot of possible causes for laryngitis. Some of the most common causes include:
- viral infection
- acid reflux diseases
- inflammation due to stressed vocal cords
- bacterial or fungal infection
- excessive smoking
- coughing and alcohol drinking
- increased use of inhaled corticosteroids for asthma use.
Symptoms of Laryngitis
Just like what is mentioned above, laryngitis can also cause many symptoms such as:
- dry and sore throats
- problems in swallowing or dysphagia
- presence of a swelling sensation near the area of the larynx,
- appearance of cold or flu-like symptoms
- swollen lymph nodes located in the neck, chest or face
- hemoptysis or coughing out of blood
- dyspnea or difficulty in breathing (especially in children)
- problems in eating or loss of appetite
- increased saliva production
As we all know, symptoms of a particular disease is always link to the presence of a causative agent. In the case of laryngitis, the infection is the most common reason for the occurrence of such complication. Aside from using medications and drugs, home remedies in treating this throat problem can also be useful. Using simple materials and ingredients such as salt and vinegar water, chamomile or mint tea and honey and lemon juice can be efficient in treating the said condition.
How to Treat Laryngitis?
Before starting the treatment, it is important to check the symptoms present in the particular case of laryngitis. Although the symptoms mentioned above are the most common, not all it may be present in all cases of this health condition. Checking other symptoms that can be caused by other problems aside from laryngitis such as high fever, opaque mucus and chronic cough may already indicate the need to visit a doctor.
During the treatment course, it is also important to avoid or minimize talking, singing, shouting, smoking or any o ther activities that can cause stress to the larynx. Improving health conditions still does not warrant complete recovery, which is why rest is always needed in order to regain back the energy. This also means that late night activities must likewise be canceled in order to provide more time for the body to regenerate. Drinking alcoholic beverages and other drinks that contain caffeine must also be avoided.
In order to hasten the recovery of the larynx, drinking plenty of water can be very helpful. Soft drinks must be lessened or minimized since this can promote dryness, which can cause more throat irritation. Aside from this, gargling half a tsp of salt or 1 tsp of vinegar in 6 ounces of water in the morning, noon and evening can also decrease the presence of inflammation. Drinking a cup of brewed chamomile or peppermint tea can also ease the soreness. Honey and lemon juice can also be used as an alternative. However, if the condition is already caused by an infection, it is better to consult the doctor in order to receive proper medication or antibiotics. Zantac or Prilosec is also used if the inflammation is caused by acid reflux.