Acute Laryngitis

What is acute laryngitis?

Acute laryngitis is a short-term inflammatory condition affecting the larynx, or voice box, typically lasting less than 3 weeks. It may have infectious or non-infectious causes. It can affect people of every age and gender. It mainly causes a hoarse voice and sore throat due to inflammation in the throat. Treatment may include resting the voice, simple pain relief, and drinking warm liquids to soothe the throat. Most people recover quickly.


There are both infectious and non-infectious causes of acute laryngitis. The most common causes are a flu or cold due to a virus. Non-infectious causes include overuse of the voice, gastric reflux, or an injury to the voice box region.


Typical symptoms include hoarseness, sore throat, a cough, and swallowing problems.


The diagnosis is usually made by examination of the throat.


Treatment depends on the source of the problem, but mainly includes resting one’s voice. Drinking warm liquids and using medicated throat lozenges may be useful to soothe the throat. Simple pain medications (ibuprofen or paracetamol) can help with the pain. If the condition is caused by bacteria, the treatment may involve antibiotics.


Prevention can be achieved by moderate use of the voice, and taking care to avoid catching or spreading viruses. Giving up smoking may also help to avoid laryngitis.

Other names for acute laryngitis

  • acute inflammation of the larynx