What Is Laryngitis?
Imagine waking up the morning of a sales presentation and finding out your voice is hoarse and hardly audible. You rush to the bathroom and deep gargle an antiseptic mouthwash and it won’t work. You go to the kitchen and deep gargle water mixed with kosher salt. But it won’t work either.
You have laryngitis and it will take time to cure it.
Laryngitis is an inflammation of your larynx, also called the “voice box”. It can be caused by overuse, irritation, viral or bacterial infection.
Inflammation is the body’s natural defense mechanism when it detects damage or infection in an area. But with Laryngitis, inflammation causes swelling of the vocal chords which distorts sounds from air passing over them. Depending on the extent of the swelling, your voice may be completely inaudible.
Normally and with proper treatment, Laryngitis should clear up within 4 to 5 days. But if it lasts more than 1 week without signs of cleaning up, you should immediately seek professional medical help.
Symptoms of Laryngitis
If your job requires you to do a lot of speaking such as sales, coaching, consultation, singing and teaching you are highly susceptible of developing Laryngitis. You may go to bed feeling normal then wake up with a case of Laryngitis.
Here is a list of warning signs or symptoms that you are at risk of developing Laryngitis:
- Voice is gradually getting weaker
- Talking is becoming increasingly difficult
- Sore throat
- Dry throat
- Dry cough
When you notice these symptoms, take immediate action to address the possibility of Laryngitis. These courses of action include:
- Resting your voice
- Drinking plenty of fluids; water only
- Gargling with an antiseptic or anti-bacterial mouthwash
However, you should seek immediate medical attention if the following symptoms manifest themselves:
- Breathing problems
- Coughing up blood
- Persistence of fever
- Progressive pain in the vocal cords
- Pain in swallowing
These are warning signs that you may have croup; inflammation of the larynx and the airway underneath it. It may also be a case of epiglottitis, an inflammation of the tissue that covers the windpipe. Epiglottitis could be a life-threatening condition.
Risk Factors for Laryngitis
You may develop Laryngitis a number of ways. Here are 3 causes factors that may leave you at risk of acquiring Laryngitis:
- Developing respiratory infection – Afflictions such as colds, bronchitis and sinusitis are caused by viral infections. Colds lead to nasal drippings that irritate the throat and induce coughing. This could result in conditions that induce inflammation in vulnerable areas such as your larynx.
- Exposure to substances that cause irritation – People who regularly smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or those who work in construction and mining are prone to developing Laryngitis. You regularly inhale or intake substances and particles that constantly irritate your larynx.
- Overusing your voice – Have you noticed how hoarse and gravely a coach’s voice becomes the longer the game goes? Many popular singers frequently lose their voice due to overuse. People who frequently address congregations such as ministers and those who host seminars are at risk of developing Laryngitis.
If your job or lifestyle requires you to speak or talk often, here are actionable tips to consider:
- Spread out your engagements to give you time to rest your voice.
- Modulate your voice when speaking.
- Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
- Manage stress; exercise regularly.
- Eat healthier; take vitamins regularly to fight off infections.
- Drink warm ginger tea to soothe your tired vocal cords.
The bottom-line is take care of your health and try to maintain balance in life and work.