Springdale Mason Pediatrics

Laryngitis - Viral


  • Viral infection of the voicebox (larynx) and vocal cords

Call or Return If

  • Trouble breathing or swallowing occurs
  • Hoarseness lasts over 2 weeks
  • You think your child needs to be seen
  • Your child becomes worse

About This Topic


  • Voice (or cry) is raspy and deeper than usual
  • If hoarseness is severe, the child can do little more than whisper
  • Cough is often present
  • Fever may also occur


  • Most laryngitis in children is caused by a virus. It's usually part of a cold.

After Care Advice

  • Most hoarseness is part of a cold.
  • It means the vocal cords are irritated and swollen.
  • Here is some care advice that should help.
Warm Liquids:
  • Age over 1 year. Can sip warm fluids such as chicken broth or apple juice.
  • Age over 6 years. Can also suck on cough drops or hard candy. Butterscotch seems to help.
  • Age over 8 years. Can also gargle. Use warm water with a little table salt added. A liquid antacid can be added instead of salt. Use Mylanta or the store brand. No prescription is needed.
Rest the Voice:
  • Avoid yelling and screaming. (Reason: causes vocal cord strain.)
  • Have your child try to talk as little as possible. He or she can also write notes for a few days.
  • Also, avoid clearing the throat. (Reason: Can make hoarseness worse.)
  • For fevers above 102° F (39° C), give acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen. Note: Lower fevers are important for fighting infections.
  • For ALL fevers: Keep your child well hydrated. Give lots of cold fluids.
  • If the air in your home is dry, use a humidifier. Reason: Dry air makes hoarseness worse.
Avoid Tobacco Smoke:
  • Tobacco smoke makes hoarseness and coughing much worse.
What to Expect:
  • Hoarseness from viral laryngitis lasts 1-2 weeks.
Return to School:
  • Your child does not need to miss any school for a hoarse voice.
  • Your child can go back to school after the fever is gone.

Author: Barton Schmitt MD, FAAP
Copyright 2000-2021 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC
Disclaimer: This health information is for educational purposes only. You the reader assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
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