Laryngitis Pediatric Care Plan

By David Shafran, MD
Medically reviewed
December 16, 2020

What is Laryngitis?

Laryngitis refers to inflammation of the vocal cords that often results in a hoarse or raspy voice. The most common cause of laryngitis in children is a viral infection. If infection is the cause, laryngitis is often accompanied by a fever, cough and/or runny nose.

Other causes of short-term hoarseness include:

  • Vocal strain from yelling or singing
  • Mouth breathing because of nasal congestion

If your child’s hoarse voice doesn’t improve after 5 to 7 days, other potential causes to consider include:

  • Reflux
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Environmental irritant
  • Medicines like inhaled steroids used for asthma
  • Lesions on the vocal cord
  • Chronic post-nasal drip
  • Thyroid issues

Laryngitis Treatment and Diagnosis

Laryngitis is diagnosed based on history and physical exam. Since it usually gets better on its own after 5 to 7 days, treatment is supportive and includes:  

  • Drinking plenty of fluids
  • Getting lots of rest
  • Letting the voice rest as much as possible
  • Warm salt water gargles
  • Ibuprofen or Tylenol for any pain or discomfort

If symptoms do not improve, your child’s provider might refer you to an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist for further evaluation. The specialist might use a camera to look at the vocal cords directly.

Check in with K if…

  • You have general questions about your child’s condition
  • You want general followup for your child
  • You have questions about supportive care
  • Your child’s symptoms don’t go away after treatment but are not alarming

See a doctor in person if…

  • Your child develops fever and worsening throat pain
  • Your child’s voice doesn’t return after 5 to 7 days
  • Your child isn’t drinking well
  • Your child has a hard time breathing
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

David Shafran, MD

Dr. Shafran is a board-certified pediatrics physician. He joins K Health from the Cleveland Clinic, where he led a pediatrics practice and completed a fellowship in transplant ethics. He has completed multiple fellowships, including one in pediatric nephrology at Rainbow, Babies & Children's University Hospitals. He received his medical degree from the Sackler School of Medicine in Tel Aviv and completed his medical residency at the Jacobi Medical Center.