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Laryngitis diagnosis, treatment, and prevention

Video transcript

diagnosis of laryngitis which is itis swelling and larynx which refers the soft tissue in vocal cords known also as the voice box is mostly accomplished clinically and through good history taking a patient with recent exposure to a viral illness such as the cold or the flu may actually develop laryngitis but of course exposure to pathogens and viral agents is not the only cause of laryngitis so careful history of the patient needs to be taken for example they may be exposed to a lot of different chemicals or or smoke or they may be a singer and use their voice often or potentially they may have a nodule on their vocal cords whatever the causes of the laryngeal irritation or the irritation of the larynx or the vocal cords asking questions is the best way to diagnose the type of laryngitis and of course laryngitis can either be acute or chronic where acute is more associated with viral illnesses and very rarely bacterial and chronic is associated with irritants such as smoking or repeated straining of the voice caused by talking or singing and really clinical is the best way to diagnose laryngitis because there are really no other lab tests that can be performed however if a physician or health practitioner suspects something other than a viral illness which is the most common cause of acute laryngitis then it might be good to get a direct view of the larynx to see what's going on in fact there might be a nodule or if the patient has signs of acid reflux there might be damage seen to the soft tissue of the larynx and this can also help diagnose bacterial laryngitis this could give direct visualization of any exudate or white [ __ ] fluid created by bacteria and this would give a sign that it could be a bacterial infection so direct visualization of the larynx known as laryngoscopy so visualizations copy of the larynx can give confirmation of many different causes of laryngitis dudu laryngoscopy a physician or health practitioner will insert a long tube-like structure that has a camera on the end of it and this camera will allow a direct view from above of the larynx and associated structures however laryngoscopy is usually only pursued in cases of chronic laryngitis now in making the diagnosis of laryngitis it's also important to note that there are other causes of a horse raspy voice one of the most dangerous causes I'll go ahead and scroll down here is epiglottitis epiglottitis is a very dangerous illness epiglottitis is swelling of the epiglottis and the epiglottis is this flap of tissue that sits above the larynx it helps protect the airway however when it gets swollen it can potentially obstruct the airway which can cause serious consequences such as difficulty breathing epiglottitis also causes a hoarseness of the voice just like laryngitis but obstruction of the airway causing difficulty breathing is the major source of concern in epiglottitis patients may also have difficulty swallowing which can lead to drooling because a patient is unable to swallow the saliva that they're producing this can actually help in differentiating between epiglottitis and laryngitis another difference between the two is an epiglottitis there is no coughing patients tend not to cough and that's because the vocal cords and the larynx have a lot of cough receptors so when the larynx gets swollen this can press on those cough receptors and cause a patient to cough however the epiglottis doesn't have any of these receptors and so patients tend not to cough too much epiglottitis can also cause high fever and so when dealing with a patient with a hoarse voice it's important to look for these symptoms and if any of these symptoms come up a patient should be treated for epiglottitis right away and treatment for epiglottitis will be antibiotics now the treatment for laryngitis is very supportive and has to do with general home remedies so patients are advised to rest their voice drink lots of fluids and pursue anything that can help soothe the pain in their throat so patients can use such things as cough drops or lozenges it's also recommended to gargle with salt water because the salt water can kill both pathogens and also decrease swelling and this is just accomplished through osmosis so water can be pulled out of the swollen soft tissue in the presence of a saltier environment on the outside treatments for chronic laryngitis are more focused on reducing exposure to the chemical irritant or whatever is causing the chronic laryngitis so for example quitting smoking can help resolve chronic laryngitis or if the patient is a singer they can decrease the use of their voice and go through proper speech counseling to decrease the trauma to their voice box so treatment again is home remedies and also decreasing exposure to irritants and last of all prevention of laryngitis focuses on good hygiene to avoid any viral illnesses and decreasing exposure to any noxious substances such as cigarette smoke