Please note, due to the US Memorial Day Holiday on Monday, this Monday’s post comes to you early.
Morning Musically-Minded, Medically-Minded, Masticators!
(Today’s post is sponsored by the letter “M”)
Over the past 600+ episodes, The Simpsons has taken us on an amazing journey involving music, science, and food to name a few concepts.
And what better way to start your week, then by discussing some of these concepts Monday morning?
So let’s get started this week by talking about a medical disease from the twentieth episode of our favourite family, laryngitis.
In the twentieth episode of The Simpsons, Bart Vs. Thanksgiving (Season 02, Episode 07), the Simpsons are hosting a family Thanksgiving dinner. In addition to Homer’s father (Abe Simpson) attending, the festivities are attended by Marge’s sisters (Patty Bouvier and Selma Bouvier) and mother (Jackie Bouvier).
When we meet Jackie, she informs us she has laryngitis.
Jackie: “I have laryngitis. It hurts to talk. So I’ll just say one thing… You never do anything right.”
After a fight between Bart and Lisa threatens to ruin Thanksgiving, Jackie leaves us with another gem of a quote.
Jackie: “At the risk of losing my voice, let me just say one more thing… I’m sorry I came.”
But have you ever wondered what laryngitis is?
Laryngitis is the most common disorder of the larynx (also colloquially known as ‘the voice box’), and results from inflammation of the larynx. Laryngitis is categorized as acute laryngitis if it lasts less than three weeks and chronic laryngitis if symptoms last more than three weeks.
Symptoms include hoarse voice, and sometimes may include fever, cough, trouble swallowing (dysphagia), or pain the neck. The underlying mechanism involves irritation of the vocal cords.
Laryngitis may occur as the sole manifestation of allergic, viral, bacterial, fungal, trauma, or chemical insult; but it is more commonly part of a generalized upper respiratory tract infection or the result of heavy exposure to tobacco smoke. Laryngitis may also result as a symptom of a systemic disorder, such as tuberculosis, acid reflux, rheumatoid arthritis, or sarcoidosis.
Viral causes of laryngitis include viruses such as rhinovirus, influenza virus, parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and a virus that seems to be making headlines around the world – coronavirus.
Bacterial causes of laryngitis include bacteria such as group A streptococcus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Corynebacterium diphtheriae, Moraxella catarrhalis, Haemophilus influenzae, Bordetella pertussis, Bacillus anthracis, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Fungal causes of laryngitis include fungus such as Histoplasma, Blastomyces, Candida, Cryptococcus, and Coccidioides.
Trauma often results due to excessive use of the vocal folds such as excessive yelling, screaming, or singing.
For acute laryngitis cases, they generally resolve spontaneously on their own. Treatment often involves resting the voice, taking painkillers, and drinking plenty of fluids.
For chronic laryngitis cases, treatment of the underlying cause is often the principal treatment. Medications such as steroids play a larger role in chronic laryngitis. However, it is important to have chronic laryngitis seen and assessed by a doctor, as further examinations may be required.
Now that we’ve learned more about laryngitis, be sure to come back next week when we continue our Monday morning musings with the next episode of The Simpsons.
Have you ever heard of laryngitis? Have you ever had laryngitis? Do you know anyone who has had laryngitis? Did they experience Jackie-like symptoms? What’s your favourite Simpsons illness reference? What about your favourite Simpsons holiday-related episode? If you live in the US, any plans for Memorial Day? Sound off in the comments below. You know we love hearing from you.