Today, COVID-19 is impacting every individual in one way or the other. The pandemic is now revealing additional symptoms and complications as it is spreading globally. One of the symptoms of COVID-19 observed lately is the voice. The infection also ends up inflaming the vocal cords of the patients, eventually hoarsening the voice.
The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is defined as an illness caused by a novel coronavirus, also known as SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2). As is common knowledge, the outbreak of this highly infectious virus has created havoc worldwide.
The virus outbreak began in China and is now globally known as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). With the disease gripping over 200 countries on the planet, the World Health Organization, in March 2020, declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic.
What Causes COVID-19 Voice?
Patients suffering from COVID-19 sometimes have a hoarse voice as the virus impacts the respiratory tract.
When the upper respiratory tract infection affects the lungs, like COVID-19, patients will cough even more. While they already have an inflamed throat and vocal cords from infection, the secondary coughing that happens can be quite irritating and intense.
Coughing can, specifically, cause inflammation in the larynx, also called the voice box. Larynx is an organ in your throat that has the vocal cords as well as two flaps of tissue which move to allow breathing and vibrate to help a person speak.
The inflammation caused by caughing affects flexibility of those vocal cords, making them stiff and swollen, which means they cannot vibrate as much. This can affect the depth and pitch of the patient’s voice, causing it to sound raspy or even reducing it to just a murmur.
Thus, while coughing can affect the voice and vocal cords of an individual infected by the COVID-19 virus, there are a few more reasons that can cause a hoarse voice in COVID-19. They include:
- Steroids: Healthcare professionals recommend steroids (dexamethasone) for severe COVID-19 infections. These steroids can increase acid reflux, which irritates the throat and vocal cords. Patients who receive steroids and have weak immune systems tend to also develop a fungal infection in the mouth and throat. This can cause the COVID-19 voice.
- Ventilators: It has been observed that COVID-19 patients who were put on ventilators face issues with vocal cords post recovery.
- Vagus nerve: COVID-19 can damage the vagus nerve in the throat, which can further lead to long-term damage to the patient’s vocal cords.
When to See a Doctor
If you witness any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with an infected person, you should immediately get in touch with a doctor for further medical consultation. It is also advised that you inform the healthcare professional and the symptoms you have observed .
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How can ‘COVID-19 Voice’ be prevented?
Nothing much can be done for the prevention of ‘COVID-19 Voice’ or any other throat problems. A hoarse voice is not considered a critical issue compared to the other symptoms of the disease.
How is ‘COVID-19 Voice’ treated?
Below mentioned are few treatment options for hoarse voice brought on due to COVID-19:
- Cough drops – Cough lozenges can help in the treatment of COVID-19 similar to other respiratory disorders. They include menthol that numbs the nerves of cough receptors and triggers less sensitivity.
- Stay hydrated – Dry cough leads to throat irritation. Being hydrated can keep the cough receptors from getting active.
- Healthy diet – A healthy diet is very important as it helps to minimize acid reflux that worsen the throat’s condition during an infection.
- Speak softly and limit speaking – The more you talk and use your voice at a high pitch, the more the throat is irritated. Thus, it is extremely important to avoid speaking, especially in a loud voice.
Coronavirus is a severe respiratory illness that has gripped the whole world.
The impact of the virus on one’s voice is one of the prominent consequences of COVID-19. The COVID-19-led throat inflammation affects the flexibility of the vocal cords making them stiff and swollen..
One cannot prevent the development of a COVID-19 voice. But, it is important to remember that it is not a grave concern.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What are the prominent symptoms of COVID-19?
Some of the common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough, tiredness, and loss of taste. Additionally, the other symptoms of COVID-19 include vomiting, muscle ache, sore throat, headache, runny nose, shortness of breath, chest pain, and others.
- What precautions should be taken to avoid exposure to the virus?
To reduce the risk of infection, you can take the following measures:
- Avoid close contact with a sick person
- Maintain social distancing of 6 feet between two people
- Avoid crowded areas
- Avoid visiting crowded indoor places
- Practice frequent hand washing
- Wear a mask whenever in public places
- Avoid touching face (mouth, nose, and eyes)
- Disinfect commonly used surfaces
- Use sanitizers regularly
- Stay home and stay safe
- Why is it important to disinfect surfaces?
To avoid the spread of the virus, we should disinfect commonly used surface tops such as doorknobs, handles, desks, and others regularly. According to a study, the COVID-19 virus can stay for a longer time on surfaces. Some of the types of surfaces and their duration to carry the virus are as follows:
- Cardboard – Around 24 hours
- Stainless steel and plastic – Around 2 to 3 days
- Copper – Around 4 hours