October 3rd, 2012  Posted at   Health

Not only is the flu still hanging around, but many people are getting a bad case of laryngitis to go with it. Here’s what you need to know about this common condition.

What is Laryngitis?
Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx and surrounding parts. The vocal cords stretch across the larynx, which is located in the windpipe. If you have laryngitis, your voice will sound hoarse or be temporarily gone for a short period of time.

What Causes Laryngitis?
The most common cause of laryngitis is a viral infection. It may also be part of a bacterial infection or part of a common cold, bronchitis, flu or pneumonia. Laryngitis often follows or occurs during an upper respiratory infection and is a self-limiting condition.

If you do get laryngitis, try not to talk. If you have a bad case, you won’t be able to talk. You and your family will have to write notes back and forth until your voice returns. Try some of the following tips to relieve your discomfort:

Avoid talking and whispering as this only adds stress and strain to the vocal cords.
If you smoke, stop. Smoking will only irritate the throat and vocal cords more.
Drink warm drinks such as tea, coffee or cocoa.
At night turn on a vaporizer or humidifier in your bedroom.
You might want to use a cough syrup for symptoms of dry throat or cough.
Eat warm foods such as oatmeal, soups and stews.
A gargle of warm salt water will help relieve the inflammation in your throat. To mix, add about 1/2 teaspoon to a
glass of warm water.

Avoid being out in the cold and get plenty of rest.

If your voice has not returned after several days, you should check with your doctor. Remember, if you have been shouting or cheering at a sports game, you will most likely be a little hoarse the next morning.

But, if you get a case of laryngitis for no apparent reason, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor.

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