Laryngitis

Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx that occurs when the vocal cords become swollen. The sounds you make become distorted, causing hoarseness and a weak voice. In some cases, your voice disappears altogether. The condition, known as laryngitis, often occurs as a result of allergies.

Laryngitis Signs & Symptoms

Laryngitis is classified as either acute (short term) or chronic (long lasting or recurring). Allergic laryngitis may be more persistent than that caused by a viral infection, which is temporary and usually clears up within a matter of days. Allergens, which trigger an immune system response that can cause inflammation and swelling, tend to be seasonal, or worse – may persist year-round.

The most obvious sign of laryngitis is a change in your voice. It may appear hoarse, raspy, breathy, or weak, and may crack when you speak. This is sometimes accompanied by a sore throat, dry cough, or tickle in the throat.

Common allergens responsible for laryngitis include pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds; mold; dust mites; animal dander; smoke; and other environmental irritants.

Treatment & Prevention

Laryngitis is a potentially serious condition. If left untreated, permanent damage to the larynx can occur. Sores and vocal cord nodules may develop as a result of persistent inflammation, and you’ll have an increased risk of contracting throat cancer. If symptoms persist beyond two weeks, seek medical attention.

You’ll be given a physical exam and allergy skin or blood tests to confirm the diagnosis and identify the allergen responsible for triggering your symptoms.

Home treatment can provide short-term relief for your symptoms. Most importantly of all, you’ll want to rest your voice. Trying to speak while suffering from laryngitis puts undue strain on the vocal cords, delaying the healing process and possibly leading to permanent damage. Drink lots of liquids, and gargle with warm salt water throughout the day. Use a humidifier to keep your throat and nasal passages moist, and stay away from tobacco smoke. Long-term solutions may include prescription medications or immunotherapy (allergy shots).