Navigating the Challenges of Hoarseness

Hoarseness (Laryngitis) is a common symptom that occurs when there are problems affecting your vocal cords or folds of your voice box. It is characterized by a change in voice quality, often resulting in a raspy or strained voice which causes dry cough on straining and also you will experience sore throat or even dryness. 

What Causes Hoarseness?

There are several possible causes, the most common of which is a cold or upper respiratory infection. Other causes include heartburn, voice overuse, inflammation from allergies, side effects of medication, smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke, and intubation, which is the process of passing a tube through the mouth to assist breathing.

It is more common in those who use their voice in their everyday careers, such as call-centre operators, singers, coaches, and teachers.

While many cases are mild, it can be associated with serious diseases such as head and neck cancer, Parkinson’s disease, cancer of the larynx.

How Long Should Hoarseness Last?

If your change of voice is related to an allergy, cold, or upper respiratory infection, it should go away within seven to 10 days. However, if it does not get better within two weeks, you should schedule an appointment with your ENT, as this could be a sign of a more serious problem. Other indicators of a more serious disorder are feeling a lump in your neck, coughing up blood, pain when swallowing, difficulty breathing, and severe voice changes.

Effective Home Remedies:

  1. Voice Rest: Do not talk and try not to clear the throat as these will further aggravate the proble. DO NOT WHISPER.
  2. Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water and other fluids can help keep your vocal cords lubricated and healthy.
  3. Limit caffeine and alcohol. Since these dehydrate the body and symptoms of laryngitis may worsen.
  4. Smoking: If you are a smoker, stop smoking as the smoke irritates the voice box further.
  5. Honey: Honey is a natural throat soother that can help ease inflammation in the throat. Mix one tablespoon of honey with warm water or tea and drink it slowly.
  6. Steam: Inhaling steam can help to moisten and soothe the throat. 
  7. Ginger tea: Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce inflammation in the throat. Boil a few slices of ginger in water and add honey and lemon for taste.
  8. Don’t clear your throat. Clearing your throat causes your vocal cords to vibrate abnormally. Swelling can occur as a result, making your throat feel more irritated.

Tretament for Laryngitis

The type of treatment needed depends on the cause and symptoms. Majority of the time, the cause is a viral infection.
An antibiotic may be advised if the infection is caused by a bacteria or if the immune system is not working properly.

Steroids: These drugs help reduce swelling and inflammation and will be prescribed if you have cough on lying down disturbing your sleep or need to use your voice at the earliest.

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