Laryngitis: When To Call a Professional

By  , Expert Content
Jan 15, 2013

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Laryngitis is a common condition which affects the larynx (voice box). It affects people of all ages but is more common in children. Laryngitis is more common in seasons when viral infections occur i.e.  especially during late fall, winter, and early spring. In most cases it is a mild infection which is inconvenient and can be uncomfortable, and is rarely serious.

Consult a doctor for laryngitis if you have one or more of the following problems suggestive of some serious medical problem:

  • Hoarseness, or change in voice persist for more than 2 weeks. In most cases of viral laryngitis symptoms improve within 10 to 14 days. Hoarseness which persists for more than 2 weeks can be caused by some other underlying cause such as laryngeal cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD).
  • High grade fever (more than 1010F) with a sore throat.
  • Cough with yellow or green sputum (it can occur in bronchitis or sinusitis).
  • Blood in sputum or coughing
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Severe throat pain or discomfort.
  • Other symptoms such as swelling in the neck, weight loss, inability to drink liquids.

When to seek urgent medical care

Children are more likely than adults to develop severe infection and complication. Seek urgent medical care for a child if;

  • breathing becomes rapid
  • your child has difficulty in breathing
  • colour of skin becomes blue or pale
  • your child is not able to take adequate amount of fluids or looks dehydrated
  • the child appears weak, lethargic, is not waking up or interacting poorly
  • your child is irritable or inconsolable even on holding
  • symptoms such as fever and cough worsen
  • has drooling of saliva or trouble swallowing
  • develops noisy, high-pitched breathing sounds.

Who to consult

Some health professionals who can be consulted for laryngitis include:

  • Paediatrician
  • Family physician
  • ENT specialist (a doctor who specialises in treatment of conditions of ear, nose and throat)
  • Internist
  • Physician assistant.



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