Another laryngitis question
April 27, 2021 6:59 PM   Subscribe

YANMD. Every couple of years I get a bad sinus thing that causes laryngitis. I'd love to figure out how to prevent this from happening. My job requires me to use my voice. What's the fastest way out of this?

Last week my son had a runny nose, sore throat and something going on that messed with his sleep that he could never articulate. Within a few days I had the same congestion and sore throat. No real cough to speak of. I feel okayish, tired, run down, but no fever. I've been using guafenisen and diffusing oil of oregano. I have access to prednisone in 5mg doses. I took 15mg this morning as my voice disappeared yesterday afternoon and just took another 10mg hoping to jumpstart my recovery. I take an otc allergy medication every day (Xyzal, recommended by the allergist). So, how do I shorten this bout of laryngitis and is there a way to shore up my body to prevent this from happening? Would a general antiinflammatory substance like quercetin have any impact? (Side note: I cannot take immune boosting things like echinacea, elderberry or melatonin, but I can take "immune modulating" things like ashwagandha.)
posted by crunchy potato to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Ah, that link isn't the one I meant to use. Oil of oregano is well-known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties though. I am allergic to basically every antibiotic and this was viral anyway, so I was hoping to use it to shorten the duration.
posted by crunchy potato at 7:03 PM on April 27, 2021

As soon as I recognize I'm getting the bad kind of sinus congestion that I know is going to result in post-nasal drip, I go to the following routine:

- Sudafed at bedtime to slow the drip, Mucinex during the day to encourage it to become blow-able.
- Humidifier running in the room because I know the congestion is going to make me mouth-breathe all night, which is like sandpaper on an irritated throat
- Nasal rinse during my prep-for-bed process. I haaaate it, but I cannot deny it improves my situation.
- Warm salt water gargle too. Sometimes makes me throw up or nearly so, but it clears up gunk.
- Sleep sitting as far up as possible. If I had a recliner, I'd sleep in that, but I don't so I prop myself up on a raft of pillows. This sucks, it frankly makes for real shitty sleep (so I also take doxylamine succinate, usually a whole one, to knock me out as much as possible) but if I do not do this I'm going to get worse. If I do all the other stuff but not this, I get worse. I need to keep that drip moving down my throat as much as possible rather than congregating.

I take nsaids around the clock to reduce inflammation, but if you're taking steroids it may not be necessary.

I do also find in general that a proper balance of electrolytes (so, something that includes magnesium, I use this ) and hydration seems to give me some recovery edge. I know I am prone to dehydration when I've got the sinus glurge anyway, and I think the sudafed and guaifenesin do not help, plus the mouth-breathing. The magnesium seems to soothe the restless legs I always get when I'm sick, as well.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:30 PM on April 27, 2021 [4 favorites]

Like the only thing fresh raw garlic is Officially Good At per Science is lessening the duration and severity of your cold when you get sick. It works as a preventative measure. I don't know if it's immune boosting or modulating because I don't know the difference.

To decongest, drink water. Then drink more water.
posted by aniola at 7:49 PM on April 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

I started coming down with laryngitis right before doing an interview at a hippie store years ago. They recommended friar's balsam (I've ordered it off Amazon, as well as hippie store). I start taking that when it starts to come on and it works well. Maybe less well several days later, but it has gone well for me and I hardly ever get it any more. You just drink it in water. It might not help your current bout (and I don't know how long it would take to order online anyway), but you can keep it on hand for future bouts.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:49 PM on April 27, 2021 [1 favorite]

For the sore/scratchy throat aspect, I've found gentle massage of the lymph nodes in my neck to be helpful, as well as frequent gargling with hot salt water. Getting as close as possible to complete vocal rest has always been recommended by voice teachers - maybe setting expectations with family that your voice can only be used during work hours, for work, and with appropriate co-workers that you won't speak unless absolutely necessary?

(When I first tried it (2011ish?), I remember finding articles about the use of lymphatic drainage massage in clinical treatment for cancer patients, but now all the search results are SEO whatnot.)
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 9:17 PM on April 27, 2021 [2 favorites]

frequent gargling with hot salt water

is the single most effective intervention I've ever found for naso-pharyngeal issues. At least as salty as sea water, but basically the saltier the better.
posted by flabdablet at 1:57 AM on April 28, 2021 [3 favorites]

I lived with a professional singer for a while and she swore by Throat Coat tea (slippery elm). I use it now whenever I get a scratchy throat and it really helps soothe it. My wife, who was extremely skeptical about it, also was converted after a bad sore throat a couple years ago.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:47 AM on April 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure from your question whether you're just focused on throat remedies or on the sinus -> other trouble problem. If it's the second one, I had surgery to clear out the scar tissue and spurs from my sinuses (which had caused me trouble for years.) In my case, the more sinus trouble I had, the more the scar tissue built up and prevented draining, and the worse it got. I haven't had trouble since, A+ would do it again.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:47 AM on April 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

The nasal irrigation thing was a life changer for me. Warm salt water with lots of buffer, you can make all of it at home for as close to free as makes no difference, and what used to be "a ten-day sinus disaster" has become a day or three of modest discomfort.
posted by mhoye at 8:32 AM on April 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

OH BUT: You can use tap water for sinus irrigation, and I have, BUT: if you have any suspicions at all about the quality of the tap water where you're doing this, boil it first.
posted by mhoye at 9:29 AM on April 28, 2021

Have you ever had any acid reflux issues? Associated post-nasal drip and a sore throat are common symptoms of what's called "silent reflux"
posted by clownschool at 11:51 AM on April 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

Make sure your lymph nodes are always empty when you're not sick.

I used to always have swollen lymph nodes. Then I quit eating refined sugar, and they went down a lot. When I quit eating dairy, the swelling goes away entirely. Does anything make your lymph nodes swell when you're not sick?
posted by aniola at 12:29 PM on April 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

I had a sinus infection actually invade my larynx and cause a secondary infection there, just as I finished grad school. My trusted otolaryngologist very carefully scoped my vocal cords to diagnose.

They prescribed a nasal nebulizer with budesonide and a compounded antibiotic that helped with the pain and inflammation. But it took a lot of time to resolve. I lost my voice for nearly two months. No voice at all... Not even a croak. I wasn't allowed to talk for quite a while, as everything healed.
posted by answergrape at 8:25 PM on May 9, 2021

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