Laryngitis is an inflammation of the voice-box ‘larynx’. It can occur in two forms – acute and chronic. Your larynx is a voice box, which allows you to sing, speak, whisper, scream and make any vocal noise basically. Your larynx gets troubled and can experience inflammation which might cause you to lose your voice.
The larynx is located at the junction of the mouth and trachea and has a flap like covering which is called the epiglottis. This epiglottis is responsible for preventing food and saliva from entering the larynx when you swallow. The larynx is made up of a cartilage skeleton which houses the vocal cords and is covered by mucus lining. The muscles which are present inside the larynx helps adjusting the position, shape and tension of the vocal cords and thus it allows us to make different sounds from whispering to singing.
A brief illness producing hoarseness and a sore throat is acute laryngitis, which is usually caused by an upper respiratory tract infection. On the other hand, chronic laryngitis is a more persistent condition in which there is a lingering hoarseness and one’s voice may also change. The chronic laryngitis can be painless and there are not many signs of infection.
Here is how you can prevent chronic laryngitis.
Smoking is one of the foremost reasons behind chronic laryngitis. The carcinogens in cigarettes irritate the larynx, cause swelling and inflammation. As a result, your vocal cords thicken and lower the pitch of the voice. If you smoke, consider kicking the habit.
Binge drinking or drinking alcohol heavily can cause a chemical irritation of the larynx that produces changes similar to those seen in smokers. When it comes to drinking alcohol, the key is doing so only in moderation. However, there is nothing better if you can quit it.
During cold seasons you should drink warm salt water, and otherwise just drink warm water instead of cold water. They do not have any specific health benefit, but helps to sooth and comfort the throat. By having a good comfort level in your throat you will be able to prevent your voice or throat from straining and therefore can prevent inflammation.
It is important that you give your larynx some rest; too much of shouting, screaming or singing loudly could be hard on you. It is very important that people who regularly use their vocal cords excessively should receive proper training so they do not end up damaging their larynx. By shouting, screaming or singing aloud you strain your larynx and this could put you at the risk of getting laryngitis. Also, someone who uses his or her vocal cord excessively is at a high risk of getting chronic laryngitis.
Laryngitis is contagious when it is caused by an infection, it is an upper respiratory infection and catching a cold is commonly a viral infection which is spread by aerosol droplets. One can reduce the risk of spreading laryngitis by covering the nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing. Also other hygienic habits such as washing hands often with disinfectants and not sharing food utensils and wiping the door handles of your living space can help from spreading the disease. Also do not clear your throat too often because this disturbs the vocal cords and could lead to swelling.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is one medical condition that ups your risk of chronic laryngitis. In the disorder, acidic fluids from the stomach flow backward (reflux) into the esophagus and throat, irritating the larynx. Those with the condition have many complaints involving the nose and throat, including the feeling of having a lump in the throat, heavy mucus in the throat or discomfort during swallowing.
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