BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuLaryngitisHoarseness - laryngitisLaryngitis is swelling and irritation (inflammation) of the voice box (larynx). The problem is most often associated with hoarseness or loss of voice.HoarsenessHoarseness refers to a difficulty making sounds when trying to speak. Vocal sounds may be weak, breathy, scratchy, or husky, and the pitch or qualit...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Causes The voice box (larynx) is located at the top of the airway to the lungs (trachea). The larynx contains the vocal cords. When the vocal cords become inflamed or infected, they swell. This can cause hoarseness. Sometimes, the airway can get blocked.The most common form of laryngitis is an infection caused by a virus. It may also be caused by:Allergies AllergiesAn allergy is an immune response or reaction to substances that are usually not harmful.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Bacterial infection Bronchitis BronchitisAcute bronchitis is swelling and inflamed tissue in the main passages that carry air to the lungs. This swelling narrows the airways, which makes it...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) Injury Irritants and chemicalsLaryngitis often occurs with an upper respiratory infection, which is typically caused by a virus.Upper respiratory infectionThe common cold most often causes a runny nose, nasal congestion, and sneezing. You may also have a sore throat, cough, headache, or other symptoms....ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Several forms of laryngitis occur in children that can lead to dangerous or fatal respiratory blockage. These forms include:Croup CroupCroup is an infection of the upper airways that causes breathing difficulty and a "barking" cough. Croup is due to swelling around the vocal cords. ...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article EpiglottitisEpiglottitisEpiglottitis is inflammation of the epiglottis. This is the tissue that covers the trachea (windpipe). Epiglottitis can be a life-threatening disea...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Symptoms Symptoms may include:Fever Hoarseness Swollen lymph nodes or glands in the neck Exams and Tests A physical exam can find whether hoarseness is caused by a respiratory tract infection.People with hoarseness that lasts more than a month (especially smokers) will need to see an ear, nose, and throat doctor (otolaryngologist). Tests of the throat and upper airway will be done. Treatment Common laryngitis is often caused by a virus, so antibiotics likely will not help. Your health care provider will make this decision.Resting your voice helps to reduce inflammation of the vocal cords. A humidifier may soothe the scratchy feeling that comes with laryngitis. Decongestants and pain medicines may relieve the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection. Outlook (Prognosis) Laryngitis that is not caused by a serious condition often gets better on its own. Possible Complications In rare cases, severe respiratory distress develops. This requires immediate medical attention. When to Contact a Medical Professional Call your provider if:A small child who is not teething has difficulty breathing, swallowing, or is drooling DroolingDrooling is saliva flowing outside the mouth.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article A child less than 3 months old has hoarseness Hoarseness has lasted for more than 1 week in a child, or 2 weeks in an adult Prevention To prevent getting laryngitis:Try to avoid people who have upper respiratory infections during cold and flu season. Wash your hands often. DO NOT strain your voice. Stop smoking. This can help prevent tumors of the head and neck or lungs, which can lead to hoarseness. Open ReferencesReferencesAllen CT, Nussenbaum B, Merati AL. Acute and chronic laryngopharyngitis. In: Flint PW, Francis HW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 61.Flint PW. Throat disorders. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 401.Rodrigues KK, Roosevelt GE. Acute inflammatory upper airway obstruction (croup, epiglottitis, laryngitis, and bacterial tracheitis). In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier;2020:chap 412.AllVideoImagesTogThroat anatomy - illustration Structures of the throat include the esophagus, trachea, epiglottis and tonsils.Throat anatomyillustrationThroat anatomy - illustration Structures of the throat include the esophagus, trachea, epiglottis and tonsils.Throat anatomyillustrationRelated Information Hoarseness (Symptoms)Common cold(Condition)Acute bronchitis(Condition)Flu(Condition)Community-acquired pneumonia in adults(Condition)Breathing difficulty(Symptoms)Respiratory(Special Topic)Croup(Condition)Epiglottitis(Condition)Allergies(Condition)Colds and the flu(In-Depth)Pneumonia(In-Depth)Allergic rhinitis(In-Depth) Review Date: 10/10/2020 Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. 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