In most cases, laryngitis gets better within a week without treatment. See your GP if your symptoms are severe or haven't improved after two weeks.

Treatment at home

You may be able to help your recovery by:

  • not smoking and avoiding smoky, dry or dusty environments
  • drinking plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration – particularly water (avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks), even though swallowing may be painful
  • taking painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen – which may ease any associated pain, headaches and fever (children under the age of 16 shouldn't take aspirin)
  • gargling with a mouthwash of warm, salty water (not recommended for children) or sucking lozenges – which may help to soothe a sore throat
  • using menthol inhalation and air humidifiers – which may soothe your airways and help keep them clear
  • avoiding speaking when possible and only speaking softly when you need to – but don't whisper because this can put more strain on your larynx

Treating underlying causes

In some cases, it's possible to treat the underlying cause of laryngitis. For example:

  • bacterial infections (but not viral infections) can be treated with antibiotics
  • if smoking or alcohol misuse is causing laryngitis, stopping smoking or cutting down how much you drink can help
  • gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) can be treated with medication to reduce the amount of acid your stomach produces – see treating GORD for more information
  • if an allergy is causing laryngitis, you may be able to avoid the substance you're allergic to or take antihistamines to control your body's response to the substance – see treating allergies for more information
  • if straining your voice is causing laryngitis, you may benefit from vocal therapy (see below)

Vocal therapy is a type of speech and language therapy that involves studying how you use your voice and how this may contribute to your symptoms. You may be given information and advice about any changes you can make or voice exercises you can do to prevent further damage to your larynx.

Page last reviewed: 08/09/2015
Next review due: 01/09/2018