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Laryngitis is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Inflammation of the mucosa of the larynx
  • The most common cause is viral upper respiratory infection
  • Peaks parallel epidemics of individual viruses
  • Most common during late fall, winter, early spring


  • Viral upper respiratory infections most common in acute laryngitis:
    • Influenza A and B
    • Parainfluenza types 1 and 2
    • Adenovirus
    • Coronavirus
    • Coxsackievirus
    • Respiratory syncytial virus
    • Measles
    • Rhinovirus
  • Bacterial infections much less common:
    • β-Hemolytic streptococcus
    • Streptococcus pneumoniae
    • Haemophilus influenzae (HiB)
    • Moraxella catarrhalis
    • Bordetella pertussis
    • Diphtheria
    • Tuberculosis
    • Syphilis
    • Leprosy
  • Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) (especially in adults)
  • Fungal infections (often associated with inhaled steroid use or immunocompromise)
  • Allergic
  • Voice abuse or misuse
  • Inhalation or ingestion of caustic substances or other irritants
  • Autoimmune (rheumatoid arthritis, relapsing polychondritis, Wegener granulomatosis, or sarcoidosis)
  • Trauma
  • Idiopathic

Pediatric Considerations
  • Acute spasmodic laryngitis (spasmodic croup)
  • More likely to be infectious.
    • Consider HiB, diphtheria, etc., if not immunized
  • Consider foreign body

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Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Laryngitis." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307535/0.1/Laryngitis.
Laryngitis. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307535/0.1/Laryngitis. Accessed June 25, 2019.
Laryngitis. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307535/0.1/Laryngitis
Laryngitis [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 June 25]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307535/0.1/Laryngitis.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Laryngitis ID - 307535 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307535/0.1/Laryngitis PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -