12. Soothing Remedies for Laryngitis

Disc jockeys get laryngitis. So do actors, politicians, and others who talk for hours. But ordinary people who overuse their voices get laryngitis, too. Perhaps you cheer too loud and too often at a basketball game. Or perhaps you lose your voice for no apparent reason.

Air pollution or spending an evening in a smoky room can also irritate the larynx (voice box) and cause laryngitis. Infections, too, can inflame the larynx. When your larynx is irritated or inflamed, your voice becomes hoarse, husky, and weak. Sometimes, laryngitis is painless, but you may experience a sore throat, a tickling sensation in the back of the throat, fever, dry cough, or have trouble swallowing.

Smoking, drinking alcohol, breathing cold air, and continuing to use already distressed vocal cords all aggravate the situation. Resting your voice will usually allow acute laryngitis to heal within a couple of days. If laryngitis persists for more than a week or is accompanied by other symptoms, such as fever or coughing up bloody-colored or yellow-green sputum, consult your doctor for treatment.

Otherwise, home treatment for laryngitis is simple.

  1. Don’t talk if you don’t need to. Instead, use a note pad and pencil to communicate.

  2. Use a cool mist humidifier to moisturize the air in rooms where you expect to spend a lot of time (like the bedroom).

  3. Gargle every few hours with warm salt water (1/4 teaspoon salt in 1/2 cup of warm water).

  4. Drink plenty of liquids. Drink warm ones, such as weak tea with honey and/or lemon juice.

  5. Let hot water run in the shower or bath to make steam. Sit in the bathroom and breathe the moist air.

  6. Don’t smoke, Avoid secondhand smoke.

  7. Suck on cough drops, throat lozenges, or hard candy. (Do not give to children under age 5.)

  8. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever for discomfort, if necessary.

Chapter 1
  1. Fast Relief for Everyday Health Problems