Hoarseness is when your child's voice is raspy. If it is severe, your child can do little more than whisper. A cough is often associated with the hoarseness.
Hoarseness lasting days is usually caused by a cold or croup virus (laryngitis). Another cause is overuse of the vocal cords (for example, yelling and screaming). Allergies to pollens or irritation from dust, chemicals, or pollutants can also cause a raspy voice from sticky mucus. Transient hoarseness lasting minutes can be caused by eating something or breathing something (such as powdered sugar) that irritates the vocal cords.
Hoarseness from a virus infection usually lasts 1 to 2 weeks. Repeated voice strain (for example, from yelling) can cause thickening of the cords and a slow recovery.
Your child should gargle with warm water and suck on hard candy or cough drops several times a day. Younger children can sip warm liquids like apple juice. If the air in your home is dry, use a humidifier. Don't allow anyone to smoke around children. Encourage your child to rest his voice and avoid the voice strain that comes from yelling and screaming. Encourage him to talk as little as possible for a few days. If the hoarseness gets really bad, have him whisper or write notes.
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