How to relieve laryngitis symptoms at home
When the voice box is inflamed, it can cause symptoms such as:
- painful swallowing
- a chronic cough
- postnasal drip
- feeling as though there is a lump in the throat
- a dry throat
- a hoarse or lost voice
- feeling the need to clear the throat often
Although laryngitis usually subsides with time, the symptoms can interfere with everyday life. In this article, we look at the best home remedies for laryngitis.
Resting the voice
Resting the voice can help reduce inflammation and irritation of the vocal cords.
Although it is vital to rest the voice, people should not whisper. Whispering causes even more irritation than speaking quietly.
Gargling salt water
Gargling salt water might help alleviate symptoms of laryngitis.
Salt water can help kill harmful bacteria and may reduce pain. Try adding half a teaspoon of salt to an 8 ounce glass of warm water and stir to let the salt dissolve.
Gargle the salty water in the back of the throat, then spit it out. Be careful to not swallow the water.
This method is not suitable for young children, as they might accidently swallow the water if they are unable to gargle correctly.
Using a humidifier
Adding moisture to the air by using a humidifier or a personal vaporizer can help soothe a dry and inflamed throat.
People can also add cooling essential oils, such as menthol or eucalyptus, to the humidifier.
Although there is little high quality evidence to support the notion that these scents can help ease the symptoms of laryngitis, some people find them helpful.
It is important to keep essential oils away from children. Using essential oils in a humidifier can also be harmful to pets, including cats and dogs, so make sure to research the oils or ask a vet first.
Many people support the use of garlic for easing cold and flu symptoms.
Research suggests that garlic has antibacterial properties, so it may help a person get over the infection sooner.
It is easy to incorporate garlic into cooked meals. However, for those who do not like the taste of garlic, there are supplements available that have the same benefit but less flavor.
Trying ginger root
The antibacterial properties of ginger root may help relieve a sore throat.
Research suggests that ginger has antibacterial properties and can help reduce inflammation.
People can try drinking a ginger tea or adding ginger root to hot water to relieve sore throat pain or inflammation.
Drinking hot water with honey
Drinking warm water helps relieve pain and inflammation, and honey is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory substance.
By fighting inflammation, it may help reduce pain and discomfort in the throat. Honey can also act as a cough suppressant.
People who find honey too sweet can add lemon juice to the hot water.
Increasing fluid intake
Though it can be tempting to avoid eating or drinking anything, especially if it hurts to swallow, it is vital to stay hydrated.
Drinking warm or cool liquids can help soothe the vocal cords and hydrate a dry throat. People should avoid fluids that irritate the throat, however, including sodas and very hot beverages.
Milk and dairy products can also increase mucus production and worsen symptoms.
Managing stomach acid can help when laryngitis is due to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
To treat GERD, people can try:
- using an over-the-counter (OTC) stomach acid medication
- avoiding large meals
- waiting at least 3 hours after eating before going to sleep
- sleeping with the head slightly elevated
Making dietary changes can also be helpful. People with GERD and GERD-related laryngitis may wish to avoid:
- spicy foods
- fatty foods
If these suggestions do not relieve GERD, it is important to see a doctor for further evaluation and advice on treatment options.
Avoiding smoking and alcohol
Whether laryngitis is acute or chronic, avoiding smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol can help relieve inflammation.
This is especially important when prolonged cigarette or alcohol use is the trigger for laryngitis. People can speak to a doctor about help quitting if necessary.
Using OTC pain relievers
Using OTC pain relievers can relieve swelling and a sore throat, making a person more comfortable throughout the day.
In addition to using medications specifically for a sore throat, people can also use generic pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Although some people use aspirin to relieve laryngitis symptoms, children should never use this medication. In children, aspirin can cause a potentially life threatening complication called Reye's syndrome.
Chronic laryngitis occurs when symptoms last longer than 3 weeks.
There are two different types of laryngitis: acute and chronic. Infections and illnesses, usually an upper respiratory infection, can cause acute laryngitis. It tends to last for a few days, until the illness goes away.
Chronic laryngitis, on the other hand, occurs when it lasts for longer than 3 weeks.
Causes of chronic laryngitis include smoking, heavy alcohol use, GERD, exposure to irritating chemicals, and overusing or abusing the voice (such as by yelling).
Laryngitis occurs when the larynx, or voice box, becomes inflamed or irritated. In most cases, the condition is short lived and easily manageable using home remedies.
If sore throat pain or laryngitis do not go away within 2 weeks using these remedies, it is best to see a doctor, as acute laryngitis usually resolves within this time.
A doctor can help determine if further diagnostic testing or prescription medication is necessary.
Shop for home remedies
Some of the home remedies listed in this article are available to purchase in stores, pharmacies, or online. These include: