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Is Laryngitis Contagious?

Is Laryngitis Contagious?

Laryngitis is the swelling of the voice box or the larynx. In this following HealthHearty article, we will delve a little deeper into this condition and understand whether this condition is contagious.
Medha Godbole
Last Updated: May 14, 2018
Did You Know?
'Laryngitis' is a combination of two words larynx (voice box) + itis (inflammation).
The larynx is the voice box that allows a person to speak, sing, whisper, and shout. Located at the junction of the mouth and trachea, it has a covering that has a flap-like appearance, called the epiglottis. Its main job is to prevent food and saliva from entering the larynx while swallowing. Anything that affects the larynx has an effect on the quality of the voice―one of the main conditions that affects the larynx is laryngitis.
Laryngitis is a condition that is caused by an inflammation of the larynx and leads to a person losing his/her voice. It is also accompanied by several other symptoms, like, a hoarseness in the voice, or the voice sounding gravelly, and sometimes very, very soft. The person may also experience throat pain if an inflammation has led to the condition.

In the following sections of this HealthHearty article, we will try to understand whether this condition is contagious.
The Contagiousness Factor
Condition # 1 - Viral Infection
One of the main causes for the onset of laryngitis is due to a viral infection that leads to an inflammation of the vocal cords. The infection could be bacterial or fungal in nature and is similar to the common flu and other respiratory infections.

Is viral laryngitis contagious? Yes, it could be. In case this condition is brought on due to a virus that leads to a contagious infection, then yes, there are high chances that the laryngitis may turn to be contagious. If a person is afflicted by the same infection as that of a person who is already suffering from the condition brought on by the virus, then a laryngitis attack is possible.

That being said, the chances of catching 'laryngitis' (and not the flu/virus) are rare. The reason being that, laryngitis does not develop until after all the initial symptoms of the flu (cough, fever, runny nose) have subsided.
Condition # 2 - Straining of Voice
Straining the voice by overusing it while shouting, singing, talking, or while carrying through any other activity could cause a strain to the larynx and lead to laryngitis.

In this case, the condition is not contagious. Unless a person overuses his voice, he cannot develop it by being in the company of someone who lost their voice due to overuse.
Other Conditions
There are several other conditions that could lead to the emergence of laryngitis, however, none of them are contagious. These conditions are brought about due to their own set of causes, and unless a person is afflicted by the same conditions, he cannot develop laryngitis simply by being in the company of someone who has laryngitis. These conditions are as follows:

Prolonged alcohol use
Smoking
Exposure to secondhand smoke
Exposure to severe pollution
Excessive coughing
Stroke or paralysis
Thyroid inflammation
Prolonged and constant affliction of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) which could cause a swelling and inflammation of the cords.
Precautions to Take
A person who has a bacterial virus (that could lead to laryngitis) could be contagious. In order to avoid passing on the infection to others, a good meter to follow is to take precautions when one is suffering from fever, has a cough, or a runny nose. Once these symptoms have subsided, one may no longer be contagious.
However, it is recommended that certain steps be taken in order to minimize disease transmission onto others. These include―washing your hands with soap as often as possible, sneezing and coughing into a paper towel, as well as covering your mouth while doing so, wiping down all the door handles, and not sharing utensils with others.
Laryngitis is not a contagious condition by its independent self. Yet, there are times when a person could develop laryngitis if he/she is afflicted by the same virus as that which has affected a patient.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.