In most cases laryngitis symptoms last less than a couple of weeks and are caused by something minor, such as a virus. Less often, laryngitis symptoms are caused by something more serious or long lasting. Laryngitis signs and symptoms can include:
- Weak voice or voice loss
- Tickling sensation and rawness of your throat
- Sore throat
- Dry throat
- Dry cough
When to see a doctor
You can manage most acute cases of laryngitis with self-care steps, such as resting your voice and drinking plenty of fluids. Strenuous use of your voice during an episode of acute laryngitis can damage your vocal cords.
Make an appointment with a doctor if hoarseness lasts more than two weeks.
Seek immediate medical attention if your child:
- Makes noisy, high-pitched breathing sounds when inhaling
- Drools more than usual
- Has trouble swallowing
- Has difficulty breathing
- Has a fever higher than 103 F (39.4 C)
These signs and symptoms may indicate croup — inflammation of the larynx and the airway just beneath it. Although croup can usually be treated at home, severe symptoms require medical attention. These symptoms also can indicate epiglottitis, an inflammation of the tissue that covers the windpipe (trachea), which can be life-threatening for children and adults.
June 28, 2012
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- Fact sheet: Common problems that can affect your voice. American Academy of Otalaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/commonvoiceproblems.cfm. Accessed March 8, 2012.
- Fact sheet: The voice and aging. American Academy of Otalaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery. http://www.entnet.org/HealthInformation/Voice-and-Aging.cfm. Accessed March 8, 2012.
- Wang AJ, et al. Comparison of patients of chronic laryngitis with and without troublesome reflux symptoms. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2012;27:579.
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