What Is Viral Laryngitis?
Viral laryngitis is a term given to swelling or inflammation of the larynx, which is also referred to as the voice box, due to some form of viral infection. Laryngitis is generally associated with hoarseness of voice or in some instances complete loss of voice. The larynx is located on the top of airway to lungs that is the trachea. It contains the vocal cords which help us in speaking. Due to some reason, if the vocal cords become inflamed or infected, they get swollen resulting in hoarseness of voice and throat pain. In some instances, the airway can also get blocked. The most common form of laryngitis is due to an infection as a result of a virus like a cold or flu viruses.
Types Of Viruses Responsible For Viral Laryngitis
Given below are some of the viruses responsible for viral laryngitis resulting in hoarseness of voice and throat pain:
- Rhinovirus: Rhinoviruses are commonest form of viral agents in humans and the predominant reason for occurrences of common colds and resultant inflammation of the larynx resulting in laryngitis and throat pain. These viruses get transmitted by two ways that is aerosols of respiratory droplets and contaminated surfaces, which includes direct contact with an infected individual.
- Human Parainfluenza Virus: These viruses are responsible for causing human parainfluenza with resultant laryngitis. It generally affects children under 5 years of age.
- Adenovirus: These viruses are responsible for infections of the upper respiratory tract. They also cause conjunctivitis, strep throat, laryngitis, ear infection, or croup.
- Coxsackie Virus: There are two types of Coxsackie viruses i.e., Group A and Group B and both of these groups can cause respiratory tract and febrile illnesses, laryngitis etc., especially Group A virus.
Symptoms for Throat Pain Due To Viral Laryngitis
The Following Are The Symptoms Of Viral Laryngitis Resulting In Throat Pain:
The general symptoms of laryngitis are hoarseness of voice, sometimes complete loss of voice in which an individual can only whisper, and throat pain. When it comes to viral laryngitis, along with the above symptoms, the affected individual will also have symptoms of a viral infection like the following:
- Upper respiratory tract infection
- Dry cough
- Sore throat
- Swelling of the lymph nodes present in the neck
- Fullness fleeing in throat
- Runny nose
Diagnosis for Throat Pain Due To Viral Laryngitis
A physician can diagnose laryngitis quickly just by looking at the patient and interacting with the individual having symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection and speaks in a hoarse voice. The physician may perform a brief examination of the ears, throat, or nose looking for other potential causes of laryngitis. He may do a strep test if there is a suspicion of bacterial involvement. If the hoarseness gets chronic, the physician may take a more detailed history in order to ascertain as to why the larynx has been inflamed for an extended period of time.
How Can I Prevent Myself From Contracting Viral Laryngitis Resulting In Throat Pain?
It is well known that viral infections are contagious i.e. they spread from one person to other rather quickly; same is the case with viral laryngitis. The viruses causing it generally spread by aerosol droplets. Hence, prevention is of utmost importance. In order to prevent the virus from spreading one can do the following things:
- Covering nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.
- Following proper hygiene.
- Washing hands before eating.
- Do not share food, utensils, cups etc. from an infected person.
- Wipe door handles with a clean cloth, as viruses can be present there and can come in contact with the body.
Treatment For Throat Pain Due To Viral Laryngitis
Treatment for viral laryngitis is generally supportive. This includes staying adequately hydrated by consuming plenty of fluids. Breathing humidified air is helpful. One can also take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for control of pain. The infected person needs to be patient and give time for the vocal cords to settle down and recover from the infection. For people suffering from significant laryngitis with acute throat pain and difficulty swallowing and who do not have time on their side like people from the entertainment industry namely singers, actors, etc. who need to lend their voice, a short burst of prednisone can be given to decrease inflammation and cut down the duration of symptoms. Cessation of smoking and alcohol invariably has a positive effect on the individual.
Are There Any Possible Complications Of Viral Laryngitis?
In cases of a viral infection, generally there are no complications and the symptoms go away with rest and remedies suggested above. In case of laryngitis caused by other factors such as vocal cord paralysis there can be complications in which the food mechanism can get affected resulting in food particles infiltrating the lungs and larynx leading to coughing. It may also cause aspiration pneumonia and its related symptoms.
When Should I Seek Professional Medical Advice?
Professional Medical Advice Is Needed If The Following Occur:
- An infant having difficulty breathing and swallowing accompanied by drooling.
- Infant less than 3 months of age developing hoarseness.
- Hoarseness lasting more than a week in children and in case of adults lasting more than a couple of weeks.
- In rare instances, when there is development of acute respiratory distress.