Health

Tonsillitis, laryngitis and loss of voice

Because we're all used to getting colds during the winter, we never tend to worry too much about them. But once they develop into tonsillitis or laryngitis, it's time to worry and head to the doctor's office.

Laryngitis

Laryngitis is a common viral disease that causes inflammation of the vocal cords and of the larynx.

Symptoms

The main symptom of laryngitis is the loss of voice. Your child will initially have a hoarse cough and you will notice that their voice goes out from time to time. They will also probably have trouble breathing and a mild fever.

The loss of voice is caused by a temporary inflammation of the larynx where the vocal cords are. Because they are swollen, they almost touch and no longer vibrate when your child tries to speak, therefore, there is no sound that comes out of their mouths!

Laryngitis usually lasts two to four days and resolves spontaneously but can worsen and you should consult if your child’s breathing difficulties last or if laryngitis lasts more than two weeks (becomes chronic).

If your child also suffers from an earache, you must consult an ENT specialist.

Causes

There are two types of laryngitis: acute laryngitis and chronic laryngitis. The first and also the most common is caused by a cold or the flu or can be the consequence of bronchitis or measles.

Children are more vulnerable because the cartilage that protects their larynx is very weak and not resistant enough to fight inflammation.

Treatment
  • Make sure that your child hydrates their throat as much as possible and make them drink often; warm water, milk or tea is great to soothe the throat.
  • Put a humidifier in their room;
  • Choose soft foods;
  • If the inflammation persists, cortisone may be suggested to reduce swelling of the vocal cords and ease breathing.
Tonsillitis

The tonsils are lymph nodes located in the back of the throat, on each side of the pharynx. They contribute to fighting infections caused by bacteria and viruses that enter the body through our mouth and nose. However, those tonsils themselves can be inflamed and swollen, this is what we call tonsillitis.

Children aged three to six years old are more vulnerable to tonsillitis because their immune system is not completely developed and they are usually more exposed.

Symptoms
  • A sore throat and sometimes an earache
  • Difficulty to swallow
  • Fever and chills
  • Sensitive and painful glands under the jaw and neck
  • A headache
  • Change in voice
  • A sore throat that lasts more than two days
Causes
  • Group A Streptococcus: this common bacteria infects the throat of one person out of five, including adults.
  • Respiratory viruses such as flu and cold cause most tonsillitis.
  • Infectious mononucleosis
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