Dr Philippa Kaye shares the ‘sudden’ symptoms of viral infection laryngitis

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Dr Kaye warned viral laryngitis will “come on quite suddenly over a few days”. “Your symptoms might be a croaky, hoarse voice that might go entirely,” she said. “You might have a sore throat,” Dr Kaye added. “[And] you might feel the need to constantly clear your throat, as if there’s something there.”

Dr Kaye pointed out that some people might experience a cough at the same time.

The main symptoms of laryngitis, as pointed out by Dr Kaye and the NHS:

  • A hoarse (croaky) voice
  • Sometimes losing your voice
  • An irritating cough that does not go away
  • Always needing to clear your throat
  • A sore throat.

Dr Kaye assured that laryngitis, especially if it has been caused by a virus, will “go away in one to two weeks”.

While on the mend, Dr Kaye advises to “put some moisture in the air” as, in winter, putting the central heating on can be “very, very drying”.

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Dr Kaye said: “There is good evidence for using honey, so if you’ve got honey and lemon… that can really help coat the throat and be soothing.

“Honey actually has anti-bacterial properties as well, so that can help.”

Mentioning other home remedies, Dr Kaye highlighted the use of the marshmallow plant.

“Who knew there was a marshmallow plant,” Dr Kaye beamed. “And the roots, apparently, look like marshmallows.”


The doctor explained that the marshmallow plant contains properties that can help to coat the throat.

“There is really great evidence for things like that,” Dr Kaye assured.

In addition, research supports the use of slippery elm and liquorice.

However, Dr Kaye cautioned: “Remember, these remedies may interact with other medicines.

“And liquorice can affect the level of potassium in the blood. But honey has great evidence for it, tastes great and helps, so why not.”

The NHS also recommend gargling with warm, salty water, drinking plenty of fluids, and trying to speak as little as possible.

Other tips include not talking loudly or whispering, as both can strain your voice.

And to not spend time in smoky or dusty places, and definitely not to smoke.

Your recovery from laryngitis can also be helped by avoiding too much caffeine or alcohol.

Both of these can cause dehydration, which can make the throat more irritated.

Over-the-counter medication, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, can also be helpful. As can lozenges for the pain.

If symptoms do not improve after two weeks, it’s time to book a doctor’s appointment.

Dr Kaye emphasised: “If it hasn’t, especially if you have a persistent sore throat or a persistent hoarse voice (even if you otherwise feel well), it’s important you go to the doctors at three weeks so we can check what else is going on.”

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