Is Laryngitis Contagious?
For most people who are blessed with the gift of speech, a day without uttering a single word is an impossible notion; unless, of course, the reason is laryngitis. Contagious types of this condition can make it tricky to avoid a family or business place from all becoming ill, but a little bit of knowledge can help to hold the malady at bay.
What Is Laryngitis?
Everyone knows that it is the voice box that enables individuals or animals to make verbal sounds. The voice box is an organ located in the throat, also called the larynx, and it houses the vocal cords. These cords, when vibrating, create sound. In humans, the sound is generally speech and is a gift that is used continually throughout the day, every day.
Sometimes the voice box or larynx can become irritated and inflamed. There are a variety of different reasons why this happens, ranging from overuse to illness. When it does happen, the vocal cords may swell and can become dry. They are unable to produce the same type of sound that is normal; often, the sound becomes raspy and breathy. The throat may also feel sore, making swallowing food or drink difficult. This condition is called laryngitis.
What Causes Laryngitis?
There are many reasons that may cause the voice box to become inflamed. Some of the causes are self-inflicted by the individual, although rarely intentional. Fans of sporting events can attest to the fact that their enthusiasm in cheering on their favorite team or performer has often left them weak voiced the day or so following a particularly exciting event. Screaming and yelling for whatever reason can cause overuse of the vocal cords, leaving them swollen and tender. In addition, they are now only able to utter hoarse rasping words instead of their normal level of speech. Cheerleaders will also find themselves in this plight after a thrillingly close game in which they have projected many loud cheers and chants into the bleachers.
Certain illnesses also have the side effect of causing the vocal cords to become irritated, and the result is laryngitis. Contagious or not, it helps to know more about these illnesses and how they affect laryngitis. There is more than one type of this condition, however, and it is necessary to find out what type you may have first.
Our environment plays a big part in creating optimal conditions for the irritation as well. The atmosphere around us provides moisture for our bodies as we breathe, and spending a large amount of time in a dry climate or in buildings when gas furnaces or air conditioners are running can irritate the vocal cords.
Smoking is yet another means of irritating the vocal cords in such a manner as to cause them to become swollen and affecting the sounds that can be made.
Drinking plenty of fluids, gently gargling, limiting use of antihistamines, alcohol and tobacco products are all methods of keeping vocal cords as healthy as possible.
When an individual develops this condition, whether in a family or in an office environment, the question on everyone’s mind will be, “is laryngitis contagious?” It seems fairly evident from the numerous causes for the condition that the answer would be “no”. While colds, influenza, bronchitis, tonsillitis and other types of maladies are certainly able to spread through sneezing, coughing and simple physical contact, laryngitis itself cannot be spread. Although you may know someone who has had one of these conditions and also developed laryngitis, it does not necessary follow that you will get laryngitis even if you also come down with the same illness.
Staying as healthy as possible and making a concerted effort to avoid overusing your vocal cords can prevent you from developing this condition even if you do become sick from one of the illnesses that can cause it. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.