This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
ACUTE: Tickling, burning, or soreness in the throat aggravated by speaking or talking; painful swelling; voice deeper than natural', hoarse, cracked, perhaps lost altogether; violent cough, easily excited', of a peculiar character, being usually harsh and hoarse; sputum at first scanty and glary or clear; later in the disease the expectoration becomes thicker; in severe cases, interference with respiration, and filling up of the larynx; the latter symptom most likely to occur in children, often mistaken for croup.
This disease rarely proves fatal of itself, at least in adults. It is occasionally fatal in children, producing death by suffocation. It is important to distinguish disease of the larynx from pharyngeal disease, as in that affection there is also alteration of the voice, but only in quality, the pitch not being affected. Patients with nasal and pharyngeal catarrh frequently have a nasal or gutteral quality of voice, owing to the contraction of the nasal cavities; but the voice is not deep, hoarse, or cracked. It is also important to distinguish the disease from croup, with which it is very often confounded. The hoarse voice and difficult respiration frequently occur in children suffering from pharyngeal catarrh, but it is by no means so serious an affection as croup. Cases of so-called croup so readily cured by domestic remedies, are really cases of pharyngeal catarrh.
The chronic form of the disease is very obstinate, being subject to frequent exacerbations. Even if the patient recovers, he is very susceptible to new attacks, which occur with such frequency that he can hardly be said to be free from the affection, although the symptoms can usually be made to subside after some little time.
The causes of catarrh of the larynx are similar to those which produce nasal and pharyngeal catarrh. The predisposing causes are general weakness, a stimulating, unwholesome diet, and a disposition to sweat readily, resulting in frequent chilling. The disease may be excited by any one of numerous causes, among which may be mentioned the following: 1. Those which cause local irritation, as breathing cold air, inhalation of dust or irritating vapors, prolonged and loud talking or screaming, and severe coughing. 2. Improper clothing, especially neglect to keep the limbs warmly clad, exposure of the neck, etc. It should be mentioned, however, that more harm is often done by clothing the neck too warmly than by exposing it. Great injury is often done by wearing a woolen comforter about the neck, as it produces perspiration and a relaxed condition of the skin, which renders it unnaturally susceptible to the influence of changes of temperature. 3. Improper diet, particularly the use of condiments and alcoholic liquors, is a frequent cause of laryngeal catarrh. 4. The disease may extend to the larynx from some other part, as from the nasal cavity or pharynx. 5. It may occur in connection with some constitutional disease, as measles or typhus fever. 6. It may be the result of the epidemic form of any fever, when it generally assumes an epidemic form. 7. Catarrh of the larynx is an accompaniment of ulcers and tumors of the larynx, as well as of tuberculous disease of this part.