Laryngitis in most people improves in a few days (about a week) with or without treatment. Treatment of laryngitis includes self care at home and medications.
Self care for laryngitis
- Don’t speak much: If your symptoms start after using the voice more than normal (such as excessive shouting in a football match or singing) then rest the voice as much as possible. In people with acute laryngitis (symptoms that have been present for a few days) as well rest to voice is important.
- Keep yourself hydrated: Take plenty of fluids like oral rehydration solution, fresh juice, soups, coconut water to keep yourself well hydrated.
- Symptomatic treatment: If you have symptoms of viral infection (fever, body pain, cold, cough) taking acetaminophen or tepid sponging can help to control fever. Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin can help to reduce other symptoms of the associated disease such as body pain, sore throat, and headache. Gargling with lukewarm water with added salt may help in sore throat. Use of nasal decongestants such as pseudoephedrine or antihistamines (cetrizine, chlorpheniramine maleate) can help to relieve nasal symptoms. Saline nasal sprays and drops can help clear the secretions.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol: If you have laryngitis avoid smoking, places where others are smoking, and alcohol—as these worsen laryngitis.
If your symptoms do not improve in a few days or they become more severe consult a doctor.
Medical treatment of Laryngitis
Laryngitis can vary in severity from mild to severe. Your doctor will examine you and recommend treatment based on the severity of symptoms. Most people can be treated at home with care and medications (such as fever reducing medicines, antibiotics). If the symptoms are bothersome you may be referred to an ear, nose, and throat specialist (otolaryngologist).
- Antibiotics: If your doctor suspects bacterial infection then antibiotic is prescribed. Most people with laryngitis do not need an antibiotic as it is most often caused because of viral infection.
- Corticosteroids: Some people may be given corticosteroids such as prednisolone. Steroids have good anti-inflammatory effects and hence are effective to reduce vocal cord inflammation. However, it is prescribed only in cases with an urgent need to treat laryngitis — such as if a person has to give a speech or oral presentation, or if the infection is severe (laryngitis associated with croup in a toddler).
People with chronic laryngitis are advised to avoid smoking or excessive use of alcohol and get treatment for the underlying cause (such as postnasal drip or gastroesophageal reflux disorder). A person with severe laryngitis may be admitted to a hospital for treatment.