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"How long am I contagious if I have laryngitis?"
My doctor told me I have laryngitis the other day. How long will I be contagious for? I have a young son and don't want him to get it. Should I be careful even after I feel better?
'Laryngitis' is just a fancy name for inflammation of the larynx, or voice box. This is a common complication of many viral infections (e.g., the common cold) as well as some bacteria. Also mechanical strain (singing or talking) are common non infectious causes of laryngitis. Obviously, mechanical laryngitis is not infectious or contagious. Viral laryngitis, which is the next most common form, is also not usually contagious. Although the viruses that cause laryngitis, such as the common cold virus, are contagious and can be passed from person to person, usually the contagious period for the common cold is earlier on in the infection, before symptoms begin and when the cough and congestion symptoms are at their height. On the other hand, the laryngitis usually develops later on, when the other respiratory symptoms subside, and is therefore usually happening after the contagious period is over. Bacterial laryngitis is contagious, but this is much rarer. A good rule of thumb is that if you have fever or if you have lots of upper respiratory symptoms (like runny nose) then you might be contagious and should take precautions. After these symptoms subside, you are probably not contagious. Please talk to your primary care doctor for more information about this issue.
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