By our Smarty friends at Charlotte Eye Ear Nose & Throat Associates, P.A.
Your child has come down with a cold, and now they sound like they’re losing their voice. What is happening and how can you treat it?
What is laryngitis?
Laryngitis is the inflammation of the vocal cords and is caused by a virus or allergies. This is the most common cause of hoarseness, a condition where your voice sounds breathy, raspy, or strained. Because laryngitis and hoarseness are so closely related, it is common for people to use the two terms interchangeably. However laryngitis is an actual condition, while hoarseness is a symptom of laryngitis, not an actual condition itself, CEENTA ENT doctor and voice & swallowing specialist Brett Heavner, MD, said.
Acute laryngitis commonly accompanies illnesses like colds, bronchitis, or upper respiratory infections. Chronic laryngitis is when you have longstanding irritation and swelling of the vocal folds or larynx, which may cause your voice to sound raspy or hoarse for a long period of time. It can be caused by unnecessary throat clearing, coughing dehydration, smoke, excessive voice use, and allergies.
How do I treat hoarseness?
If your child lost their voice because they are sick, you can help it by treating the illness. Make sure they eat healthy food and drink plenty of water. Foods high in vitamin A, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids are ideal.
Make sure your child gets a lot of rest, too. Depending on their age, children need anywhere from eight to 13 hours of sleep a night, and sleep is a valuable tool for repairing vocal muscles. Also, make sure your children don’t try to speak when they’re awake, as that could cause further strain.
If allergies caused the hoarseness, allergy medicine could help their voice. Avoiding their allergens could be beneficial, too. Keep your windows shut during high pollen periods, and run an air filter in your house if possible.
All that said, if your child is hoarse for more than three weeks, you’ll want to bring them to a doctor for further evaluation.
Losing a voice isn’t fun, especially for children, but with some rest and TLC, your child will be back to telling you all about their day before long.
Dr. Heavner treats patients in CEENTA’s Steele Creek office. To schedule an appointment with him or any of CEENTA’s ENT doctors, call 704-295-3000.