voice and swallowing disorders

in Tuscaloosa, AL

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Laryngitis

The larynx is important for vocal cord function and allowing air to flow through the lungs without any unwanted particles passing through. Laryngitis occurs when the larynx becomes inflamed due to an infection such as a cold, flu, or bronchitis, and leads to distressing symptoms. Some common symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, hoarseness, and occasionally loss of voice. Those who smoke, overuse their voice (such as singers or public speakers), or are prone to infections have an increased chance of getting laryngitis. This condition generally heals by itself within two weeks, with home remedy treatments including a humidifier, plenty of fluids and resting your voice. If symptoms are severe or your need to speak is urgent, a doctor may prescribe corticosteroids for your recovery. Laryngitis in adults is not serious, however, symptoms lasting longer than two weeks, coughing up blood, fever, or trouble breathing are all signs you should see a doctor.

Pharyngitis

The pharynx is the tissue between the tonsils and the larynx, and pharyngitis refers to the inflammation of the pharynx. This condition causes an unbearable sore throat and a scratchy, painful sensation that could make it difficult to breathe or swallow. Pharyngitis is more common during the colder months and is most often caused by a virus such as the cold, flu, or mononucleosis. Although less common, Pharyngitis can be caused by a bacterial infection such as strep throat. Those who are frequently exposed to viruses, have allergies, or experience sinus infections are at a greater risk of getting Pharyngitis. Pharyngitis and laryngitis generally occur together and with plenty of rest, fluids, and help from a humidifier; this condition should resolve within a week. In some cases, such as those caused by a bacterial infection, medical treatment is required and an antibiotic will be prescribed by your doctor.

Epiglottitis

The swelling of the epiglottis, called epiglottitis, can be caused by many factors. The epiglottis is the tissue flap that blocks food and fluids from entering the windpipe when swallowing. Epiglottitis can be caused by burns, injury or bacterial infection. The most common strain of bacteria causing the infection is Haemophilus influenza type B (or Hib) which is caught by inhaling the germs from an infected person through coughing or sneezing. Other causes include bacterial strep throat, inhaling chemicals, swallowing a foreign object, and throat trauma or injury. Symptoms of Epiglottitis include a high fever, severe sore throat, difficulty breathing and swallowing, and restlessness. This condition may become dangerous since it can obstruct proper airflow into your lungs, and also make it tough to swallow. Epiglottitis is generally a medical emergency and should receive treatment immediately.

Chronic sore throats may make it unbearable to swallow, breathe, or talk, so contact Alabama Nose, Ear, & Throat Specialists today to receive proper diagnosis and specific treatments based on your particular condition.

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