What is laryngitis?
What are the symptoms of laryngitis?
Hoarse or croaky voice (sometimes loss of voice)
Feeling the need to clear your throat
What causes laryngitis?
Laryngitis is usually caused by a virus. Other common causes include:
Overuse or straining your voice
Regurgitation (reflux) of stomach acid
Allergies to dust, fumes or chemicals which can irritate the voice box
A lot of coughing or throat clearing over a long period of time
Smoking a lot
Drinking a lot of alcohol
How long does laryngitis last?
In most cases, laryngitis gets better on its own within 1-2 weeks.
How to treat laryngitis yourself
Here are some things you can do to help laryngitis symptoms improve:
Rest your voice (cut down on the amount of time you're speaking – don't whisper, sing or speak loudly as this can strain your voice)
Eat nutritious foods
Drink plenty of fluids – water is best
Gargle salty water to relieve a sore throat
Get plenty of rest
If necessary, use over-the-counter medications like paracetamol and ibuprofen, to reduce pain or temperature
Use a humidifier or inhale steam to keep your throat moist
How is laryngitis treated?
Most people don't need treatment for laryngitis, but in some cases, a doctor may decide to give you antibiotics.
If laryngitis is caused by something other than an infection, it’s important to get the right treatment – a GP can assess your symptoms and give you advice.
For example, if laryngitis is caused by stomach acid reflux, you may need to change your diet, moderate your lifestyle or take medication to control your stomach acid.
How can I prevent laryngitis?
To help treat and prevent laryngitis, it’s also important to:
Avoid smoky environments (and if you smoke, try to stop)
Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink
People with laryngitis triggered by voice straining may also benefit from vocal therapy.
When should I talk to a doctor?
You should see a GP if you:
Have symptoms of laryngitis for longer than 2 weeks
Have any breathing difficulties
Have difficulty swallowing
Get recurrent episodes of laryngitis
How can Livi help?
A Livi doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms. They’ll make an individual assessment, recommend a treatment or refer you to a specialist if needed.
- Reviewed by:
- Dr Rhianna McClymont , Lead GP at Livi