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Symptoms of laryngitis

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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Symptoms of laryngitis can begin suddenly and usually get worse over a period of two to three days. After this time, your symptoms should improve and you will usually feel much better within a week.

Occasionally, the symptoms develop more slowly and last for weeks or even months.

Common symptoms of laryngitis include:

  • hoarse voice
  • difficulty speaking
  • sore throat
  • mild fever
  • irritating cough
  • a constant need to clear your throat

The hoarse voice and speaking difficulties associated with laryngitis usually get worse over the course of each day that you are ill and they may last for up to a week after the other symptoms have gone.

In a few cases, the larynx can swell and cause breathing difficulties. This is not common in adults but can occur in young children who have smaller, narrower windpipes.

Related symptoms

Laryngitis is often linked to another illness, such as a cold, flu, throat infection (pharyngitis) or tonsillitis.

Therefore, you may also experience other symptoms caused by these illnesses, such as a headache, swollen glands in the neck, runny nose, pain when swallowing and feeling tired and achy.

When to seek medical help

Laryngitis often gets better on its own without treatment, so you don't usually need to see your GP if you think you have the condition.

However, you should see your GP if the symptoms are particularly severe or last longer than three weeks.

You should seek immediate medical help if you or your child experience breathing difficulties.

Acute means occurring suddenly or over a short period of time.
Chronic usually means a condition that continues for a long time or keeps coming back.
A high temperature, also known as a fever, is when someone's body temperature is 38C (100.4F) or higher.
Inflammation is the body's response to infection, irritation or injury, which causes redness, swelling, pain and sometimes a feeling of heat in the affected area.
Pain is an unpleasant physical or emotional feeling that your body produces as a warning sign that it has been damaged.
Medical Review: September 16, 2013

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