Have you ever, at the end of a day at the amusement park crying yourself hoarse on all the rides, found that you have lost your voice? If yes, then you know how inconvenient it is to have people asking you to repeat everything you say because you are inaudible. You would also know how annoyingly painful the condition is which results in the inflammation of the vocal cords. The name for this condition of loss of voice is laryngitis and it is caused by a viral or bacterial infection. In this article, we take a look at the causes and symptoms of laryngitis and the various remedies.
Causes and Symptoms
The different causes may be as minor as overuse or constant yelling, infections that cause cold, measles, mumps, diphtheria, and other serious conditions like chronic sinusitis, GERD, over consumption of alcohol, smoking, inhalation of fumes, and even allergies. The other causes that may result in laryngitis are bacterial infections, cancer of the throat, vocal cord paralysis, etc.
While lost voice in itself is a symptom, there are other conditions that can point towards an imminent case of lost voice. These symptoms include experiencing dry throat, hoarse throat, experiencing swelling around the larynx in the throat area, mucus accumulation in the throat, fever, pain while swallowing or speaking, difficulty in breathing, etc. These symptoms are largely experienced when a person suffers from cold or a viral infection.
Several people ask a common question, is laryngitis contagious? Well, the fact of the matter is the cause of laryngitis may be contagious, for example if a person is suffering from a cold or a bacterial infection which has resulted in laryngitis, then in such a situation the condition may be considered contagious.
There are many remedies for laryngitis that you can take at home. One of the best treatments for lost voice is to inhale steam as this helps in soothing a throat that feels scratchy. It also helps soothe the vocal cords. Try to drink warm water; at least 8-10 glasses through the day as this will moisten your throat. You can also try sucking on lozenges to calm a scratchy throat.
Try to reduce your caffeine intake if you are suffering from laryngitis as it only worsens the condition. Alcohol which contributes to dehydration, therefore making your throat drier, is another staple in the to-avoid list of things. If you smoke, then try to avoid cigarettes while suffering from laryngitis as it will only hamper the process of healing. It won't allow your throat any time to recuperate or heal.
Other home remedies include gargling with warm water to which half a teaspoon of salt has been added. Gargling many times a day will help in healing the condition. But do not overdo the gargling as salt tends to dry the membranes, increasing the uncomfortable condition. Another treatment option is to consume garlic in your food, as it is antibiotic in nature. You can use garlic in your soup or if you can, try eating a raw clove of garlic. Ginger is another very good option, if used while making tea. This is due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
If none of these remedies work, the condition persists for more than two weeks, the loss of voice has occurred after an accident, or there is no cause which has resulted in the loss of voice, then it is imperative that you consult a doctor, who can provide you with correct treatment for the condition you are suffering from.