Inflammation of the larynx. Laryngitis may be acute, lasting only a few days, or chronic, persisting for a long period. Acute laryngitis is usually caused by a viral infection, such as a cold, but can also be due to an allergy. Chronic laryngitis may be caused by overuse of the voice; violent coughing; irritation from tobacco smoke, alcohol, or fumes; or damage during surgery. Hoarseness is the most common symptom and may progress to loss of voice. There may also be throat pain or discomfort and a dry, irritating cough. Laryngitis due to a viral infection is often accompanied by fever and a general feeling of illness. If sputum (phlegm) is coughed up, or if hoarseness persists for more than 2 weeks, medical advice should be sought.


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