Laryngitis treatment, diagnosis & prescriptions
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Can a doctor treat laryngitis on Maple?
Yes. In most cases, a doctor from Maple will be able to offer a laryngitis diagnosis by evaluating your condition and discussing your symptoms.
If you experience chronic or recurrent laryngitis, or if your doctor believes that laryngitis could be a symptom of another underlying condition, they may request you to visit a clinic in person so a laryngoscopy can be performed. This involves using a small device or a light and a mirror to check your vocal cord area.
If the doctor believes your laryngitis could be caused by bacteria, they may also take a sample of some mucus to send to a lab for evaluation.
Can I get a prescription on Maple?
Yes. Physicians on Maple can prescribe medications online during your consultation. Once you accept a prescription, you’ll have the option to pick it up from any pharmacy or to have it delivered to your door at no additional cost.
For more information, visit our How it works page.
What is laryngitis?
On the interior of the larynx are two folds of mucous membrane that cover muscles and cartilage. These are called the vocal cords, and the noises we make when we speak are caused by their movement and vibrations.
Normally, they open and close smoothly. However, laryngitis occurs when the larynx becomes inflamed or irritated. This changes how the air passes through the vocal cords and how they vibrate.
Depending on the severity of the condition, these changes can impact the vocal cords in different ways, ranging from hoarseness to total loss of voice.
What are the symptoms of laryngitis?
Common laryngitis symptoms include:
- Sore or dry throat
- Dry cough
- Weak voice
- Voice loss
- Irritation or pain when trying to speak
These laryngitis symptoms are considered normal and aren’t a cause for alarm. However, you should seek medical attention if you begin to experience:
- Severe throat pain
- Difficulty or inability to swallow
- Coughing up blood
- Difficulty breathing
- Long-lasting fever
Moreover, children may experience additional symptoms that include:
- Excessive drooling
- Noisy or high-pitched sounds when inhaling
- A fever of 103 F (39.4 C) or higher
If your child begins to experience any of the more severe laryngitis symptoms, they should see a doctor immediately.
What causes laryngitis?
The most common laryngitis causes are:
There are two types of laryngitis, acute and chronic. The type of laryngitis you’re experiencing will also help your doctor determine the direct cause of your condition.
Acute laryngitis is usually caused by viral infections, or from straining or overusing your vocal cords.
Chronic laryngitis is defined as experiencing laryngitis for longer than three consecutive weeks. A number of factors can cause chronic laryngitis, including:
- Long-term overuse
- Chronic sinusitis
- Acid reflux
- Inhaled irritants, such as chemicals or allergens
- Fungal, bacterial, or parasitic infections
- Vocal cord paralysis, typically caused by injury or stroke
- Bowing vocal cords, due to old age
How is laryngitis treated?
The laryngitis treatment recommended by your doctor will depend on what they determine to be the cause of your condition.
In acute cases of laryngitis, rest and self-care measures are usually recommended. The laryngitis should clear up within a week or so. Normally, no laryngitis medication is required, although over-the-counter sore throat lozenges may help alleviate some symptoms.
If the doctor believes laryngitis could be a symptom of another underlying condition or habit, such as smoking, they may make recommendations to help alleviate your laryngitis symptoms.
For children who are suffering from laryngitis due to croup, or if there is an urgent need to reduce vocal cord inflammation, the doctor may prescribe corticosteroids to help reduce swelling.
Is laryngitis contagious?
In most cases, acute laryngitis is caused by overuse or viral infections and isn’t contagious.
However, laryngitis can be contagious if it’s caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. Droplets that are discharged when an infected person coughs or sneezes can spread laryngitis.
What is the difference between laryngitis and pharyngitis?
While both laryngitis and pharyngitis are caused by inflammation, laryngitis affects the larynx (vocal cords) while pharyngitis affects the pharynx (back of the throat). They both share similar symptoms and recovery periods.
Although acute and chronic types of these conditions have very similar treatment methods, the biggest difference between them is that they affect different areas.
What is the difference between laryngitis and strep throat?
Laryngitis is caused by inflammation of the vocal cords, usually brought on by overuse or a viral infection. Occasionally, a bacterial infection such as group A Streptococcus – also known as strep throat – can cause this condition.
Strep throat can affect the entire upper respiratory tract while laryngitis is confined to the larynx.
Does laryngitis hurt?
Yes. In some cases, laryngitis can cause a sore throat or irritation around the vocal cords, which results in discomfort.
Most of the time, pain will be mild. However, in some serious cases, pain can become more intense. This usually occurs when your laryngitis is caused by an infection that becomes severe.
How long does laryngitis last?
Typically, acute laryngitis has a recovery time of about a week or so. It’s important to remember to rest your vocal cords as much as possible when you’re experiencing laryngitis. Continued overuse could increase the amount of time required for them to heal.
Laryngitis caused by other underlying conditions or habits may take much longer to heal, depending on how quickly the underlying conditions can be identified and treated.
Can laryngitis cause shortness of breath?
Occasionally, for very severe cases, laryngitis can cause difficulty breathing, which can lead to shortness of breath.
This can be avoided by refraining from performing physically demanding activities until your laryngitis symptoms become less severe.
Can laryngitis cause bronchitis?
Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of your bronchial tubes. These tubes carry air to and from your lungs.
Acute bronchitis is usually caused by a viral infection. The most common cause of chronic bronchitis is cigarette smoking. Dust and bad air quality can also contribute to the condition.
If you’re already experiencing an upper respiratory infection like bronchitis or another bacterial infection, laryngitis can be one of the symptoms you experience.
What is Maple?
With Maple, you can start talking to a doctor about your symptoms in a matter of minutes. We’re a healthcare platform for fast, convenient 24/7 access to Canadian doctors.
Simply log in, tap a button to request a consultation, and we’ll connect you to a doctor via live chat or video. For more information, visit our How it works page.
Our doctors can assess your symptoms and provide treatment, including prescriptions as necessary
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