The larynx, which projects itself on the outside of the body as the Adam’s apple, is part of the breathing apparatus. Its main function, however, is to act as a voice box in producing sounds.
Hoarseness is a sign that something may be wrong with your larynx. Naturally, if you have been shouting and cheering at a football game the day before, the reason is obvious. But if hoarseness or a change in your voice comes on without apparent cause and lasts longer than a few days, it may indicate a tumour, tuberculosis, or some other potentially serious condition of the larynx. Immediate attention is essential. See your doctor, or the throat specialist he recommends, without delay.
The trachea is the windpipe through which air enters and leaves the lungs. It is connected with the throat by way of the larynx. Although it is protected by a lid (the epiglottis), food particles sometimes get into it; most of us have, on occasion, swallowed something the wrong way. People, particularly children, have choked to death because an object large enough to block the trachea completely has entered it or has lodged in the throat and shut off the passage of air. This is one of the situations in which a knowledge of first aid can mean the difference between life and death. One reason I have cautioned you against using nose or throat drops and sprays lies in the fact that they may be inhaled through the windpipe and irritate it, the bronchi, and the lungs.
You are probably familiar with a fairly common condition of the neck, usually called swollen glands. This is an enlargement of the lymph nodes, or glands. If these glands are painful, it means that there is an infection somewhere in the head. It may be in the scalp, for example, and be caused by head lice or cuts and sores; or it may be due to sore throat, tonsillitis, sinusitis, or other types of infection. Relatively painless swollen glands may be caused by illnesses such as Hodgkin’s disease.
Make it a rule to see a doctor immediately whenever a swelling occurs in any of the glands of the throat. Let him know if you notice unusual lumps of any kind. They may not mean anything serious, but the cause must be satisfactorily established.
Wryneck (torticollis) is the term applied to an abnormal twisting in which the head is continually pulled to one side. Its cause is not entirely understood. If the condition is present from birth or childhood, it can often be corrected by professionally directed massage and stretching of the involved muscles. If such care is unsuccessful, surgery may be needed to lengthen the muscle. In adults, wryneck can be caused by chronic rheumatism as well as other diseases.