I only remember getting laryngitis once before several years ago and now I have it again. My husband travels and depends on communicating with me vocally and he isn’t much for texting so now I find myself needing to hurry this along if possible.
So here is what I know, I had a really slight cold for about four days and it went away pretty quickly. Overnight, just as my cold was disappearing so was my voice. I went to bed feeling better and able to speak and woke up very hoarse barely able to speak. My throat didn't look swollen and wasn’t sore unless I tried to speak. So in order to keep from making it worse I tried not to vocalize but it can be difficult when you have so much depending on your voice.
Here is what I have learned about laryngitis. The viruses that cause laryngitis are not very contagious. In fact, research has shown that the most contagious time is when the person has a fever. It’s usually just a viral infection, less frequently it turns out to be bacterial and rarely is it ever fungal. The voice box becomes inflamed due to the mucous going toward the back of your throat which causes you to cough and that is how your voice becomes hoarse. Most of the time it comes on quickly such as mine did and lasts about two weeks. If it’s more than two weeks then it’s a chronic case and you should see the doctor. It’s pretty much a wait and see situation. There are other causes such as excessive coughing, exposure to irritants in the air including second-hand smoke, overuse of your voice and inhaled steroids such as inhalers for asthma patients. In my case, it’s due to the cold and cough.
So now that we know what causes it, what exactly can we do about it? Well, antibiotics are out since it’s usually a viral infection like in my case. Lucky for me I really enjoy lemons and so I can eat at least a lemon a day and it really helps relieve the symptoms as well as helping with detoxing my body and loosens any mucous remaining in my throat. You should also drink lots of water to keep your throat hydrated. You can also just add lemon or tea with or without honey when you want more than just plain water. If the acidity from the lemon juice irritates your throat then try diffusing it. Lemon is great for purifying the air, just add a couple drops to your diffuser. I keep peppermints in my office and it really helps to relieve my cough and soothe my throat. I have heard some people like licorice but be aware that if you have health issues such as a heart, kidney or liver disease then licorice is not for you. Licorice interacts with many medications and can be dangerous. Try gargling with warm salt water or sucking on a popsicle instead. Eucalyptus lozenges are helpful but do not use the eucalyptus essential oils orally, it can be toxic. Stay away from alcohol and caffeine and of course any irritants such as smoke. Below I have a few recipes to help you get through your bout with laryngitis.
Fresh ginger can soothe inflamed mucous membranes so here is a recipe for ginger tea. Cut a 1-2 inch piece of ginger root into thin slices and add to one quart of boiling water. Cover and simmer on the lowest heat for about thirty minutes. Allow to cool for over thirty minutes, strain and drink a half to one full cup three to five times a day. You may prefer to sweeten with honey.
If your laryngitis is related to acid reflux or GERD, apple cider vinegar may work for you and it fights infections as well. Try two tablespoons of ACV in one glass of water three times daily. You may also combine with raw honey.
I mentioned sucking on a peppermint before because it acts as an expectorant and can discharge phlegm and reduce inflammation of the vocal cords. It has antispasmodic capabilities that inhibits contractions that cause you to cough. Another way to use it is to apply 1-2 drops of peppermint oil to a glass of water or tea. You can also use a carrier oil and blend a drop of peppermint oil with it to apply on your chest and throat.
You should avoid smoking or being around second-hand smoke, whispering, clearing your throat, and even alcohol and caffeine since these are things that prolong your vocal cords from healing. If after two weeks your voice hasn’t returned to normal then call your doctor for further evaluation.