COVID-19 and Laryngitis
Written by Ada’s Medical Knowledge Team
- Laryngitis with COVID-19 is especially common with the Omicron variant
- Laryngitis causes symptoms such as a hoarse voice, sore throat, and persistent cough
- Laryngitis usually goes away on its own in 1 to 2 weeks, but chronic laryngitis can be associated with long-COVID
- Treatment for laryngitis includes avoiding strain on the voice, drinking plenty of water, and keeping the air moist
As new variants of COVID-19 emerge, new symptoms of the virus are being reported. One of those symptoms is laryngitis, an inflammation of the voice box or vocal cords that can cause a hoarse voice, sore throat, and the constant need to clear the throat. While laryngitis can occur as a result of various infections of the upper respiratory tract, recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 can also cause the condition. In particular, the Omicron variant of the virus has been found to primarily affect the upper airways, making it more likely to cause laryngitis than other variants.
This link between COVID-19 and laryngitis highlights the importance of understanding the various symptoms associated with the virus. This article explores the connection between COVID-19 and laryngitis, including the symptoms, duration and treatment options available.
What does laryngitis with COVID feel like?
Laryngitis is an inflammation of the voice box or the vocal cords, which are situated in the throat. Because of this inflammation, the vocal cords can become irritated or swollen. This causes a number of symptoms, such as: 1
- A hoarse voice
- Losing your voice from time to time
- A sore throat
- A constant need to clear your throat
- An irritating, persistent cough
Laryngitis usually starts suddenly and gets progressively worse over the first 3 days. Afterward, the symptoms usually go away slowly. Other conditions, such as the cold or the flu, often cause it. Recent studies now also suggest that COVID-19 can cause laryngitis.
Laryngitis with COVID-19 is especially common with the Omicron variant, as this variant primarily affects the upper airways, as opposed to other variants that are more likely to affect the lower airways.2
How long does COVID laryngitis last?
Laryngitis usually only lasts about 1 to 2 weeks. Although it doesn’t happen frequently, the inflammation of your voice box may last longer and become a symptom of long-COVID. Alcohol misuse, acid reflux, and smoking can add to the possibility of getting chronic laryngitis. If your symptoms of laryngitis persist for more than 4 weeks, you should see a doctor for monitoring and treatment.
What is the difference between laryngitis and COVID-19?
Laryngitis is a condition that can happen with any infection of the upper respiratory tract. It’s usually caused by viruses such as Coronavirus, Influenza virus, Rhinovirus, or Respiratory Syncytial virus. It can also be caused by overuse of the voice, which strains the vocal cords, or by acid reflux for a more extended period, which can irritate the structures around the esophagus and cause inflammation of the voice box. 3
COVID-19, on the other hand, is a condition caused by SARS-CoV-2, which can cause you to experience respiratory, gastrointestinal, or neurological symptoms. One of these symptoms of the respiratory system may be laryngitis.
If you are experiencing symptoms of laryngitis, then it’s crucial to think about the cause of your condition to know which action to take. As the cause of laryngitis is usually a virus and the symptoms of a cold, the flu, and COVID are often comparable, it’s a good idea to get tested for COVID-19.
How can laryngitis be treated?
The symptoms of laryngitis usually go away on their own without any specific treatment. There are, however, a few things that you can do to ease your pain: 1
- Avoid speaking, especially whispering and talking loudly, as this strains the voice even more
- Avoid smoke and alcohol
- Drink plenty of water
- Gargle with salt water (this is not recommended for children)
- Keep the air in your house moist
In some cases, laryngitis can cause the vocal cords to become very swollen. Especially with children, this can press the windpipe and cause breathing problems. If you’re experiencing this, then you should contact your doctor immediately.
Laryngitis is one of the possible signs of COVID-19. It usually goes away on its own after 1 to 2 weeks, but in some cases, the symptoms may linger. An inflammation of the voice box usually doesn’t require specific treatment, but you should see your general practitioner if the symptoms don’t go away or keep coming back.
Q: Can the Coronavirus cause laryngitis?
A: Yes, one of the possible symptoms of an infection with the coronavirus may be laryngitis or voice problems.
Q: Can the Omicron variant cause laryngitis?
A: According to some studies, a sore throat and hoarse voice, key signs of laryngitis, are some of the top omicron symptoms. These are different from common symptoms from other COVID-19 variants.
Q: Can COVID-19 cause voice issues?
A: Yes, COVID-19 can cause voice issues. Some people infected with COVID-19 may experience hoarseness, loss of voice, or difficulty speaking due to inflammation and swelling in the larynx and vocal cords.
Q: Can COVID-19 lead to laryngitis?
A: COVID-19 can lead to laryngitis. Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx, which contains the vocal cords that produce sound. COVID-19 can cause inflammation and swelling in the respiratory system, including the larynx and vocal cords, which can result in laryngitis.
Q: What are the most common lingering symptoms of COVID-19?
A: Many studies have demonstrated evidence of different lingering symptoms after covid (long covid). So if we want to provide an answer to this, we should reference whatever source we decide to provide answers from.
Q: How do you treat COVID-19 lost voice?
A: If you have lost your voice due to COVID-19, there are several steps you can take to help restore it, including resting your voice, keeping your vocal cords hydrated, gargling with salt water, using a humidifier to keep the air moist, and avoiding irritants, such as smoking and alcohol.
Q: Does the new COVID-19 variant cause laryngitis?
A: New COVID-19 variants, including Omicrom and Delta, can cause similar symptoms to the original strain of the virus, including laryngitis.