DESCRIPTIONLaryngitis is a minor inflammation of the larynx (voice box) and surrounding tissues, causing temporary hoarseness. The larynx (voice box) and the upper part of the neck, behind the Adam's apple, are involved.
Appropriate health care includes:
Self-care after diagnosis.
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSHoarseness or loss of voice.
Sore throat or tickling in the back of the throat.
Sensation of a lump in the throat.
Slight fever (sometimes).
Excessive use of the voice.
Electrolyte-balance disturbances, especially low potassium, that cause muscle weakness.
Inflammation of the vocal cords and surrounding area caused by:
RISK FACTORSExposure to irritants distributed by air-conditioning systems, such as mold, pollen, and pollutants.
Extremely cold weather.
Recent respiratory illness, such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
Excess alcohol consumption.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Urge your child to avoid yelling or straining the voice.
Treat your child's respiratory infections carefully.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor. Treatment by an ear, nose and throat specialist might be helpful for persistent cases.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSTotal breathing obstruction, if laryngitis is part of a serious infection of the child's respiratory system, such as epiglottitis.
Spontaneous recovery for viral laryngitis in 10 to 14 days. Bacterial infections are usually curable in 7 to 10 days with antibiotic treatment.
Urge your child not to use the voice--to whisper or write notes instead. For most cases, resting the voice for a few days is all that is needed.
Use a cool-mist humidifier around the child to increase air moisture and ease the constricted feeling in the throat. Hot, steamy showers also help.
MEDICATIONFor minor discomfort, use non-prescription drugs, such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or cough syrup.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your child should rest more frequently.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When signs of infection have decreased, appetite returns, and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has hoarseness or other symptoms of laryngitis that last longer than 2 weeks. This may be an early sign of cancer.
Your child feels very ill or has a high fever or breathing difficulty. If these symptoms develop, call your doctor immediately.