Laryngitis is an inflammation of the mucosa of the larynx. It is most common during cold and flu season (viral epidemics).
Signs of laryngitis include an unnatural tone of voice with hoarseness, aphonia (complete loss of voice.). The sensation of tickling causes a constant urge to clear throat.
Laryngitis is usually caused by an infection, but may also be caused by allergies and irritant inhalation, or vocal abuse (i.e. singers).
Viral laryngitis is more common, and may occur with other upper respiratory infections. Viruses include: influenza A and B, parainfluenza, adenovirus, caronavirus, rhinovirus.
Bacterial infections include: beta-hemolytic sreptococcus or Streptococcus pneumoniae.
Smoking and alcohol abuse can cause chronic laryngitis.
White blood cells are elevated in bacterial laryngitis.
A viral culture is seldom necessary.
Consider biopsy for chronic laryngitis in adults with a history of smoking or alcohol abuse.
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