The larynx is the voice box that allows a person to speak, shout, whisper and sing. The larynx consists of vocal chords that are covered by a mucus lining. The muscles in the larynx control the position, shape and tension of the vocal cords, that allows the person to produce sounds like whispering and singing.
The larynx is located between the mouth and the trachea and flap-like covering called epiglottis, which prevents food and saliva from entering the larynx during swallowing.
Laryngitis is a swelling of the voice box that will cause the loss of voice in some people. Their voices become hoarse and are very quiet and very soft to hear. This inflammation causes pain in the throat.
Laryngitis can be triggered by the following:
- An infection that causes inflammation of the vocal cords.
- Overuse of the voice like excessive shouting, talking or singing.
- Recurring laryngitis can be initiated by a long usage of alcohol, smoking, and constant exposure to a second-hand smoke, polluted air and excessive coughing.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease or (GERD) can cause reflux laryngitis and a chronic cough. A repeated spilling of acid in the vocal cords can irritate and causing inflammation and swelling of the cords that obstructs vibration and generation of sound.
- Formation of polyps or nodules on the vocal cords.
- Stroke can also cause the paralysis of the vocal chords.
- A tumor found in the neck and chest will compress the nerves and will not function normally.
- Inflammation and enlargement of the thyroid can irritate the nerves that supply the vocal cord muscles.
Symptoms of laryngitis in adults
- Upper respiratory tract infection or cold
- A dry cough, sore throat, and fever
- A swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- A feeling of fullness in the neck or throat
- Runny nose and there is loss of voice
Treatment and home remedies for laryngitis
In any structure in the body that is inflamed, rest is the key to recovery. For laryngitis, it means resting the voice and limiting the amount of talking or singing. If there is a need to talk, the affected person should talk in a regular voice and not whisper.
If the person suffering from laryngitis is at home, there are first aid measures that can minimize the symptoms such as exposing to humidified air.
- Turning on the hot water in the shower until there is steam, make sure that the hot water is drained from the tub to prevent scalding burns.
- Breathe in the warm moist air or the steam for 15-20 minutes to help with the symptoms.
- Using a cold water vaporizer can also help with humidity, and avoid hot water vaporizers to prevent scalding burns.
- Staying hydrated, if the pain makes the person difficult to swallow fluids.
- Alternating warm water gargles with eating popsicles can give comfort to the pains.
- Taking Tylenol and ibuprofen can be helpful in decreasing the amount of pain.