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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.

Laryngospasm is the tightening of the muscles that surround your vocal cords (larynx). This prevents air from getting into your lungs. Laryngospasm usually only lasts a few seconds and gets better on its own. Laryngospasm that does not improve on its own is a life-threatening emergency.


Have someone call your local emergency number (911 in the US) for any of the following:

  • You suddenly have trouble breathing or speaking.
  • You stop breathing.
  • Your breathing is noisy or raspy.
  • Your lips or skin are blue or purple.
  • Your skin between the ribs and around the neck pulls in with each breath.
  • You lose consciousness.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Do not smoke:

Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause lung damage. Stay away from others who smoke. Secondhand smoke can increase your risk for laryngospasm. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you or someone close to you currently smokes and needs help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

You may need to return for tests if you have another laryngospasm. These tests can check for conditions that may increase your risk for laryngospasm. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

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