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Laryngitis Symptoms and Causes

Laryngitis is often characterized by a raspy or hoarse voice due to inflammation of the vocal cords.

Laryngitis Symptoms:

Symptoms of laryngitis include fever, hoarseness and swollen lymph nodes or glands in the neck.

The voice box (larynx) is located at the top of the airway to the lungs (trachea). The larynx contains the vocal cords. When the vocal cords become inflamed or infected, they swell. This can cause hoarseness and may sometimes block the airway.

Laryngitis Causes:

Various causes of laryngitis include:

  • Infection caused by a virus, such as cold or flu viruses is the most common cause of laryngitis
  • Allergies
  • Bacterial infection
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) -- the backup of stomach acid into the throat
  • Injury
  • Inhaled Irritants and chemicals
  • Excessive use of the voice

Several forms of laryngitis occur in children that can lead to dangerous or fatal respiratory blockage:

  • Croup – swelling around the vocal cords that causes breathing difficulty and an "barking" cough
  • Epiglottitis – swelling of a piece of cartilage (epiglottis) at the back of the tongue that normally closes off the windpipe when swallowing so you don't cough or choke after swallowing