Laryngitis affects the larynx, which is the voice box of the throat. In this condition, the larynx and the surrounding area get swollen and the affected person may suddenly find his/her voice changing or growing very hoarse and cracked. This is usually accompanied with throat irritation and soreness.
In prolonged cases, a complete loss of voice may occur. A severely congested nose may be a possible reason if laryngitis occurs immediately after cold. The throat may feel swollen and the patient might find swallowing painful. A very itchy throat and a frequent need to clear one’s throat are usual symptoms.
Laryngitis usually happens as a result of a viral, bacterial and sometimes a fungal infection. It might also be caused from common cold, influenza, bronchitis or an allergic reaction to foreign substances in the throat. Vocalists, who work on their voices excessively, commonly suffer from laryngitis. Laryngitis is not dangerous; however, if a person faces a prolonged loss of voice which doesn’t come back within one or two weeks, the condition should be looked into more seriously.
The patient can adopt certain safe measures to ensure that his/her voice comes back quickly. The first obvious step is to rest one’s throat completely. This usually takes discipline and self-effort, as the affected person is prone to talk or whisper. Whispering is not a solution because it produces an equal amount of strain on the vocal chords as talking does. Both active and passive smoking should be avoided, and it’s best to stay out of areas where people are smoking. Drinking alcohol or chilled beverages should be avoided. Humidity helps moisten vocal chords and provides relief, so staying in humid places and drinking lots of warm fluids (lemon juice, hot soups) are excellent ways to treat voice loss. Hot-water gargling of the throat regularly is a time-honored practice.
A lot of herbs are helpful for throat relief and they can either be taken directly, or steamed and then inhaled. Examples include eucalyptus oil and Goldenseal.
Licorice is a herb that is especially known to soothe sore throats and prevent allergies from distressing the nose and throat. Licorice supplements are easily available and the licorice shrub can even be directly used.