Laryngitis In Children: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, And Remedies

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Laryngitis in children is a common condition where the larynx and the vocal cords inflame and swell, resulting in a hoarse voice. In normal circumstances, the vocal cords are smooth muscles located in the larynx or voice box that vibrate on speaking to create sound and are.

Most cases of laryngitis resolve within a week or two. However, some may turn chronic, lasting for two weeks or longer. Yet most cases are curable with prompt treatment focusing on the underlying cause.

Read on to know more about laryngitis in children and its symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

Types Of Laryngitis In Children

Laryngitis is of two types, based on the duration of inflammation and the underlying cause (1) (2).

  1. Acute laryngitis: It is a mild form of the condition that lasts for a week. The inflammation in the larynx is short-lived and may occur due to viral or bacterial infections or vocal strain.
  1. Chronic laryngitis: It is a severe form of laryngitis that lasts for more than two weeks. The condition is caused due to prolonged exposure to an inflammatory agent, an irritant, or an injury.

Signs And Symptoms Of Laryngitis In Children

The symptoms of laryngitis may show up abruptly and worsen over days or more if left untreated. Below are some of the notable signs and symptoms of laryngitis in children (3) (4).

  • Changes in voice, such as a change in the pitch, hoarseness, huskiness, and harshness
  • Difficulty in swallowing or pain while swallowing
  • Dry throat accompanied by a dry barking cough, often at night
  • Throat pain, frequent throat clearing, and discomfort while talking
  • Voice fatigue and loss of voice range in children
  • Fever, swollen vocal cords, and general weakness, especially in cases of infection.

Causes Of Laryngitis

Laryngitis most commonly occurs due to upper respiratory tract infections from bacteria, viruses, and some fungi. The other causes may include the following (1) (5).

  • Overuse of voice due to shouting or crying
  • Development of nodules or polyps in the larynx or vocal cords
  • Irritation due to allergies, smoke, or other airborne pollutants
  • Inhalation of steroid medicines for the treatment of asthma
  • Nerve damage in the larynx

Complications Of Laryngitis In Children

Untreated laryngitis in children may lead to the following complications, depending on the underlying cause and severity of laryngitis (6).

  • Persistent sore throat
  • Voice and speech problems
  • Croup
  • Epiglottitis
  • Tracheitis
  • Bronchiolitis

Diagnosis Of Laryngitis In Children

The doctor may diagnose laryngitis in children through the following methods (7).

  • Evaluation of the medical history and physical examination.
  • Voice analysis, where your child will be asked to speak or make different sounds at different pitches.
  • Flexible laryngoscopy is used to visualize the vocal cords and detect cysts or nodules.
  • MRI is recommended when the doctor suspects a nerve (connected to the larynx) abnormality.
  • In rare cases, the doctor may advise a biopsy to rule out a laryngeal tumor.

When To See A Doctor

Acute laryngitis may subside without treatment or with home care. However, consult a doctor if your child experiences the following (8).

  • Hoarse voice or changed voice lasting for more than two weeks
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Persistent cough
  • Constant pain or irritation in the throat
  • Worsening of symptoms

Treatment For Laryngitis In Children

Acute laryngitis resolves in a week without treatment. The treatment for chronic laryngitis is directed towards treating the underlying cause of the condition.

  • If laryngitis is due to an infection, your child’s doctor may ask your child to rest, increase fluid intake, and prescribe medications for treatment.
  • If the condition is caused by too much yelling, shouting, or crying, the doctor may advise your child to rest their voice.
  • If stomach acid (due to GERD) is the cause, the doctor may advise some medications and changes in diet, such as avoiding chocolates, spicy and fatty foods, and caffeinated beverages (5).
  • Laryngitis due to allergies could be relieved by avoiding exposure to irritants.
  • Some children with chronic laryngitis may require voice therapies, such as speech training, to resolve the symptoms and help in early recovery.
  • Some causes, such as polyps, nerve damage, and tumor, may require surgical correction.

Remedies For Laryngitis In Children

Most children show improvement without any treatments. You may consider the following home measures and remedies to relieve laryngitis symptoms in your child (9).

  • Ask your child to speak softly. You may ask them to reach out to the person they want to talk to instead of yelling from a distance.
  • Encourage your child to practice resting of voice for a scheduled period during the day. Make sure your child does not get overexposed to smoky, dusty, or polluted environments.
  • Give your child plenty of water and add moisture to the air with a cool-mist humidifier. These methods could help prevent a dry throat.
  • Encourage your child to avoid excessive coughing and frequent clearing of the throat. You may provide them homemade cough remedies, such as ginger and honey, to reduce cough. Do not give over-the-counter cough medicines without consulting the doctor first.

Most voice disorders, including laryngitis, are seldom serious and resolve on their own with mild treatments and home care. You may encourage your child to rest their voice and drink plenty of fluids to keep their throat moist. However, if your child’s symptoms worsen or the hoarseness keeps getting worse, you must visit a doctor or ENT specialist for diagnosis of the underlying cause and treatment.

References:

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Dr. Salla Semmane

(MD)
Dr. Salla Semmane is a practicing pediatrician in Rabat in the district of Hassan, Morocco. Born in Finland, she completed her medical studies at the Faculty of Medicine in Kuopio and had her Licentiate of Medicine in 1989. She received the right of a specialist in pediatrics in 1998 and moved to Morocco in 2000. Dr. Semmane is registered at... more

Vidya Tadapatri

Vidya did her post-graduation in Biotechnology from Osmania University, Hyderabad. Her interest in scientific research and writing made her pursue a career in writing, in which she now has over four years of experience. She has done certified biotechnology-related training programs under renowned organizations such as Centre For Cellular & Molecular Biology and Department of Biotechnology. Vidya writes health-based articles... more