It is difficult to diagnose whether your laryngitis is caused by a virus or bacteria without a physical examination from a healthcare professional. There are some general symptoms you can look for to determine whether it is likely to be viral or bacterial.
In most cases, viral laryngitis is typically caused by a virus such as the common cold or influenza, and typically viral laryngitis generally lasts for less than seven days. Symptoms of viral laryngitis can include sore throat, dry cough, hoarseness, and decreased voice quality.
Bacterial laryngitis is typically caused by bacterial infections like strep throat, and usually lasts longer than seven days. The symptoms of bacterial laryngitis can include sore throat, fever, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and difficulty when swallowing.
Symptoms usually improve with antibiotic treatment. It is best to seek medical attention if your laryngitis has not improved after seven days or if you develop additional symptoms such as a fever.
How do I know if I have bacterial laryngitis?
If you are experiencing symptoms of sore throat, hoarseness, or other difficulty with your voice, you should contact your doctor. These symptoms could be signs of bacterial laryngitis. The doctor will likely ask about the symptoms you are experiencing, as well as your medical history.
They may also do a physical examination, along with tests such as a throat swab or laryngeal culture. The swab is used to obtain a sample of secretions from your throat which can be tested for evidence of a bacterial infection, while the laryngeal culture is used to look for bacteria which could cause laryngitis.
In some cases, blood work or an MRI may also be used to rule out other causes and confirm the presence of bacterial laryngitis. Treatment typically involves antibiotics, rest, and voice therapy.
What are the symptoms of bacterial laryngitis?
Bacterial laryngitis is a bacterial infection of the larynx, which is the part of the throat that contains the vocal cords. Symptoms of bacterial laryngitis include sore throat, hoarseness, difficulty speaking, dry and scratchy sore throat, pain in the throat and neck, swollen lymph glands, coughing, fever and malaise.
Other symptoms may include difficulty swallowing, post-nasal drip, lasting cough, shortness of breath and loss of appetite. Additionally, a persistent lump in the throat may be present for several weeks.
Symptoms typically last for seven to 10 days, but may last longer if not treated. If symptoms persist or worsen, a physician should be consulted.
Will bacterial laryngitis go away without antibiotics?
Yes, bacterial laryngitis can go away without antibiotics. In most cases, the infection can be treated effectively with supportive care, such as rest, hydration, and humidification of the home or office.
Over-the-counter medications such as throat lozenges and cough suppressants can also be helpful. According to the National Institutes of Health, most cases resolve in 7 to 10 days, with or without antibiotics.
It is important to see a doctor if your symptoms do not improve or worsen after a few days. The doctor may recommend antibiotics if the infection does not respond to the supportive care measures.
Where does bacterial laryngitis come from?
Bacterial laryngitis is an infection of the throat originating from bacteria. It affects the larynx, which is located at the top of the windpipe. The infection usually occurs when a person breathes in droplets from an infected person’s cough or sneeze, and the bacteria then invades the larynx.
It can also occur when a person is exposed to an unclean environment that contains the bacteria. Common symptoms of bacterial laryngitis are hoarseness, loss of voice and a sore throat, sometimes accompanied by fever, chills, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes.
Treatment for bacterial laryngitis typically involves antibiotics prescribed by a doctor.
What happens if laryngitis goes untreated?
If laryngitis goes untreated, it can lead to some serious and chronic health issues. Some of these issues may include swollen vocal cords, loss of voice or hoarseness, infection of the throat and larynx, and even scarring of the vocal cords.
Over time, if the laryngitis is not treated, the patient’s vocal cords can become permanently damaged which can ultimately lead to a loss of speech that is difficult to treat. Treatment of laryngitis often includes rest, medications (such as antibiotics and steroids) and lifestyle changes to reduce stress on the vocal cords such as avoiding yelling, singing, and speaking loudly.
If symptoms persist or worsen more serious measures might have to be taken such as an operation to relieve the swelling and pressure on the vocal cords.
What is the medicine for laryngitis?
The treatment for laryngitis usually depends on what caused it. If the laryngitis is due to a viral infection, there is usually no specific medicine for it, but your doctor may recommend taking cold remedies, such as lozenges, warm drinks, and steam inhalations, to help relieve symptoms such as a sore throat and hoarseness.
If the laryngitis is due to a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed. In addition, other measures such as taking ibuprofen for fever and pain relief and/or avoiding irritants such as tobacco smoke and excessive use of the voice can help to treat the condition.
If the laryngitis is due to an allergic reaction, your doctor may prescribe corticosteroids to reduce inflammation.
Your doctor may also recommend using a humidifier to keep the air moist, drinking plenty of fluids to help keep the voice box lubricated, and using a vocal rest in order to reduce the strain on the vocal cords.
Additionally, they may suggest voice therapy with a trained voice therapist who can help you learn how to use your voice properly without causing unnecessary strain.
Are you given antibiotics for laryngitis?
In short, the answer is no – antibiotics are not typically prescribed for laryngitis. Laryngitis is usually caused by a viral infection, and as such antibiotics are not effective as they are unable to kill viruses.
Instead, the main approach to treating laryngitis is rest and supportive care. This might include drinking warm liquids, avoiding talking or singing for prolonged periods of time, using humidifiers, and avoiding exposure to smoke, dust, and other irritants.
Other treatments doctors may recommend include using salt solutions, using cough suppressants, or taking over-the-counter medications to reduce inflammation. In rare cases where the laryngitis is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be prescribed.
How do I know if my laryngitis is contagious?
Generally, laryngitis is not considered to be a contagious condition, however, the underlying cause for the laryngitis may be contagious. Viral infections, such as the common cold and flu, are the most common cause of laryngitis and can be spread from person-to-person.
Bacterial infections, such as strep throat, can also cause laryngitis and are spread in the same way as viral infections. If your laryngitis is caused by a bacterial infection, then it could be contagious.
Before you go out in public or when you arrive, it is best practice to cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Additionally, if you come in contact with someone who potentially has a contagious condition, it is important to wash your hands frequently to avoid spreading germs.
If you think that your laryngitis may be caused by a contagious condition, it is best to make an appointment with your physician to discuss the source of your laryngitis.
How long are you contagious for with laryngitis?
Most cases of laryngitis are caused by viral infections such as the common cold or the flu. The contagion period for viruses that cause laryngitis is usually one to two weeks. That means you will typically be contagious for one to two weeks from the time that you first start experiencing symptoms.
In some cases, the infection may last for longer than two weeks, meaning you may still be contagious for more than two weeks.
While contagious, it is important to take steps to minimize the risk of spreading the virus to others. You should avoid close contact with others, wash your hands often, and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
It’s also wise to avoid activities such as singing or playing a wind instrument, which can increase the risk of spreading the virus.
Can I go to work with laryngitis?
It is generally not recommended that you go to work with laryngitis. If you have laryngitis, it can be very difficult to communicate with others in person and it can worsen if you overexert yourself.
It is best to rest your voice until it is fully recovered. If you must attend work with laryngitis, limit your talking as much as possible and take breaks throughout the day to rest your voice. Speak more slowly and softly to avoid straining your voice.
If possible, try to limit face to face contact with colleagues and customers and instead communicate through texting or emails if necessary. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to keep your throat hydrated and to reduce discomfort.
Additionally, take over the counter medications to help reduce inflammation and pain.
Can a person who caught laryngitis be contagious?
Yes, it is possible for a person who has laryngitis to be contagious depending on what is causing it. Laryngitis can be caused by a variety of viruses, some of which can be spread from person to person.
Therefore, if a person has laryngitis caused by a virus, other people that come into close contact with the person or have contact with the person’s saliva or mucus may become infected. It is important for people with laryngitis to practice good respiratory hygiene by coughing and sneezing into a tissue or their elbow and washing their hands often to prevent the spread of infection.
Bacterial laryngitis is typically not contagious, but it is still important to seek medical attention to ensure proper treatment.
Does talking make laryngitis worse?
It depends on the severity of the laryngitis and whether or not it is in the acute (early) or chronic (long-term) stage. Because laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx, talking can certainly worsen the condition if the vocal cords are already inflamed.
If the larynx is already damaged or if it is regularly overused, then talking can make the condition worse and cause it to linger and worsen. Additionally, if you have an underlying medical condition or if you are a smoker, then talking can worsen the inflammation.
It is best to avoid talking altogether or at least limit your speaking, especially in noisy environments. If the laryngitis is chronic or not severe, you can still speak, but should take a break regularly.
Additionally, it is important to use your diaphragm when speaking to reduce vocal fatigue and help protect the larynx from further damage. Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of fluids can also help reduce laryngeal swelling.
Will laryngitis go away if you keep talking?
No, laryngitis will not go away if you keep talking. Laryngitis is an inflammation or irritation of the larynx, or voice box. It is caused by a virus, bacteria, or fungus, or from overusing or straining your voice.
If you have been experiencing hoarseness, loss of voice, pain or discomfort in the throat, and a dry cough, it is likely that you have laryngitis. While it is often considered a self-limiting condition and will usually improve with rest and care, continuing to talk can aggravate the condition and make it worse.
In order to improve and help resolve laryngitis, it is recommended to rest your voice, avoid irritants such as smoke and cold air, drink plenty of fluids, and use a humdifier if necessary. Additionally, your doctor may prescribe medication to help fight the infection and reduce swelling.
When can I talk again after laryngitis?
It usually takes about 1-2 weeks for laryngitis to go away. However, if your laryngitis doesn’t resolve within that time period, you should contact your doctor. Depending on the severity of the laryngitis, your doctor may prescribe medication or other treatments to help.
In the meantime, you should rest your voice as much as possible to give it time to heal. Avoid yelling, speaking loudly, and using your voice for extended periods of time. To help soothe your inflamed vocal cords and throat, use a vaporizer, avoid dry air, and drink plenty of fluids.
Additionally, you can use a throat spray and lozenges to help keep your throat lubricated. Once your laryngitis is gone and the inflammation in your vocal chords has subsided, you can start talking again.
However, you should continue to take precautions to protect your vocal cords, such as avoiding smoking and shouting and keeping your throat hydrated.