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Laryngitis

When to call the doctor
  • Sometimes laryngitis may be more serious. Several symptoms should cause you to see a doctor:
  • High fever with a sore throat
  • Coughing up yellow or green phlegm
  • Coughing up blood
  • Unable to take liquids
  • A history of throat or breathing problems
  • Symptoms that last for 2-3 weeks despite resting your voice
  • Children are different than adults because they are more likely to become infected with certain microbes.
  • If a child just has a hoarse voice, with or without other symptoms of a virus such as low-grade fever (less than 100.5°F) runny nose, muscle aches, cough, or nasal congestion, then the treatment is the same as for an adult.
  • If the child has a fever, a sore throat , won't eat or drink, or has a decreased number of wet diapers  (indicating less than adequate drinking), however, you should take the child to see a doctor.
When to go to the hospital
  • Some situations can be life threatening, and you must not delay seeing a doctor. Go to a hospital's emergency department or call 911 if you experience any of the following.
  • Any trouble breathing
  • Feel as if your throat is closing
  • Are unable to swallow
  • Are drooling
  • Must sit upright to breathe
  • If a child is drooling (more than normal), has a whistling noise in his or her throat when breathing, or has any trouble breathing at all, then the child needs to go to the hospital.

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Self-Care at Home

If these symptoms have been present for only a few days or occur immediately following an episode of using your voice more than normal, then the main treatment is to rest your voice as much as possible.

  • If you have symptoms that suggest a virus is present, such as low-grade fever, cough, nasal congestion, runny nose, muscle aches, or feeling run down, then you should be sure to drink lots of fluids and take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) for your symptoms as well.
  • Many people find inhaling steam, such as from a hot bath or shower, or a cool mist humidifier makes them feel better.
  • In all cases you should avoid smoking and areas where others are smoking.
Prevention

Because most cases of laryngitis are caused by viruses, the best prevention is making sure you wash your hands often, especially before touching your face. Despite these efforts, much like the cold, it is impossible to eliminate the risk altogether. For children, it is important that they receive the Haemophilus influenzae vaccine in order to protect them from this possibly life-threatening bacterial infection. Otherwise, taking care not to overuse your voice is the only other preventive step.

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