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Laryngitis is an inflammation of your voice box (larynx) from overuse, irritation or infection. Inside the larynx are your vocal cords — two folds of mucous membrane covering muscle and cartilage. Normally, your vocal cords open and close smoothly, forming sounds through their movement and vibration. But with laryngitis, your vocal cords become inflamed or irritated.

Symptoms

In most cases laryngitis symptoms last less than a couple of weeks and are caused by something minor, such as a virus. Less often, laryngitis symptoms are caused by something more serious or long lasting. Laryngitis signs and symptoms can include:

  • Hoarseness
  • Weak voice or voice loss
  • Tickling sensation and rawness in your throat
  • Sore throat
  • Dry throat
  • Dry cough

When to see a doctor

You can manage most acute cases of laryngitis with self-care steps, such as resting your voice and drinking plenty of fluids. Strenuous use of your voice during an episode of acute laryngitis can damage your vocal cords. Make an appointment with a doctor if your laryngitis symptoms last more than two weeks. Seek immediate medical attention if you:

  • Have trouble breathing
  • Cough up blood
  • Have a fever that won’t go away
  • Have increasing pain over weeks

Causes

Most cases of laryngitis are temporary and improve after the underlying cause gets better. Causes of acute laryngitis include:

  • Viral infections similar to those that cause a cold
  • Vocal strain, caused by yelling or overusing your voice
  • Bacterial infections, although these are less common

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