Throat FAQs

What causes laryngitis?
Swelling of the vocal cords prevents them from coming together properly which makes a change in the voice. Acute laryngitis usually occurs due to swelling of the vocal cords from a common cold, upper respiratory tract viral infection, or irritation caused by excessive voice use such as screaming at a sporting event or rock concert.

What can you do to prevent and treat mild hoarseness?
– If you smoke, quit
– Avoid substances that dehydrate the body, such as alcohol and caffeine. Avoid secondhand smoke
– Drink plenty of water
– Humidify your home
– Watch your diet – avoid spicy foods
– Try not to use your voice too long or too loudly
– Seek professional voice training
– Avoid speaking or singing when your voice is injured or hoarse

Are there specific risk factors for head and neck cancer?
Yes, as many as 90 percent of head and neck cancers arise after prolonged exposure to specific factors. Use of tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco or snuff) and alcoholic beverages are closely linked with cancers of the mouth, throat, voice box, and tongue. (In adults who neither smoke nor drink, cancers of the mouth and throat are nearly nonexistent.) Prolonged exposure to sunlight is linked with cancer of the lip and is also an established major cause of skin cancer.

What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?
– Swelling of the tonsils
– Redder than normal tonsils
– A white or yellow coating on the tonsils
– A slight voice change due to swelling
– Sore throat
– Uncomfortable or painful swallowing
– Swollen lymph nodes (glands) in the neck
– Fever
– Bad breath

What are the symptoms of enlarged adenoids?
– Breathing through the mouth instead of the nose most of the time
– Nose sounds “blocked” when the person speaks
– Noisy breathing during the day
– Recurrent ear infections
– Snoring at night
– Breathing stops for a few seconds at night during snoring or loud breathing (sleep apnea)

When is the removal of tonsils and/or adenoids recommended?
The two primary reasons for removal of tonsils and/or adenoids are (1) recurrent infection despite antibiotic therapy and (2) difficulty breathing due to enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids. Recent studies also indicate the removal of adenoids is a beneficial treatment for some children with fluid in the middle ear.