By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
The majority of laryngitis cases that are caused by viral infections such as the common cold or flu resolve independently, without the need for treatment. If symptoms persist for more than three weeks, however, medical advice should be sought.
Some of the measures taken in the treatment of laryngitis are described below.
- The voice should be rested and even whispering should be avoided.
- Smoky, dusty or dry environments should be avoided.
- Plenty of fluids should be drunk to prevent dehydration.
- Gargling with salty water or a mouthwash can sooth a sore throat caused by laryngitis.
- Pain killers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can be taken to relieve pain, fever headache and body ache.
- If the underlying cause of laryngitis is an infection, antibiotics may be needed. Illness caused by a virus does not usually respond to antibiotics, although these may still be prescribed to treat secondary bacterial infections. Bacterial laryngitis caused by diphtheria needs to be treated with antibiotics and fungal infections are treated with antifungal medications.
- People who develop laryngitis as a result of gastroesophageal reflux disease need to be treated with medications to suppress the stomach acid such as ranitidine, famotidine or omeprazole. These medications may be required for up to six weeks.
- Laryngitis caused by allergy is treated with anti-allergy medications and avoidance of the substance that is causing an allergic reaction.
Reviewed by Sally Robertson, BSc
Last Updated: Nov 11, 2014