Vocal Health — What To Do When You’re Sick!
It’s that time of year again: colds and the flu are in full swing! Preventing yourself from getting sick is the best offense for protecting your voice, but what do you do when you fall victim to one of these illnesses and you need to sing? This blog will help give you tips for not damaging your voice and help you get better faster!
First off, if you feel like you’re going to get sick, or are starting to get sick, don’t wait to start taking care of yourself. The sooner you start the healing process, the sooner you’ll be back to normal.
When you feel that cold or flu coming on:
- Get plenty of rest
- Skip out on some of those late night excursions so you can get a full night of rest!
- Pump yourself full of Vitamin C!
- Oranges, broccoli, grapefruit, bell peppers, kiwi, and tomatoes are all good sources of Vitamin C
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Drinking plenty of water is absolutely necessary
- Caffeine dehydrates you, so put a limit to one cup of coffee/soda a day!
So, you’ve tried all these, and you still got sick! Here are some helpful tips for getting better faster:
- Do all those points mentioned above!
- Eat a little more healthfully
- Switch out those potato chips, fries, and candy for some almonds or dried fruit
- Greek Yogurt contains probiotics, which help your immune system stay strong
- Antibiotics get rid of all the good bacteria, so eating a spoonful of Greek Yogurt a day gives your stomach the good bacteria it needs!
- Stay away from dairy (other than yogurt). It thickens your mucus!
- Sanitize your toothbrush each time you use it to avoid reinfecting yourself
- Mouthwash or white vinegar is good!
- After you’re well, change out your toothbrush
- Over-the-counter cold medicines are great for helping you feel better
- Tylenol Cold/Flu!
- Advil Congestion!
Those are all great tips for anyone to take when they are sick so that you can take better care of yourself! These are also very important for singers so that they can get healthy faster and get their voice back to normal. Below is information about singing while you’re sick!
- If possible, rest your voice (speaking and singing)
- Vocal rest is important if your voice is hoarse/tired. Give it a break and go silent for a day or as often as you can while you’re sick.
- Don’t whisper!!!
- Whispering creates more stress on your vocal cords because you’re forcing them to stay apart but still forcing them to create sound. Opt for speaking in a slightly higher pitch.
- Sing over the phlegm, not through it
- This is a mental thing. Imagine you are singing above the congestion and mucus, rather than having to go through it.
- Out is better than in, so spit out any mucus that comes up
- Drink hot tea
- Find a decaf flavor you enjoy or opt for hot apple cider
- The heat from the water soothes your throat and gives your vocal cords some relaxation.
- Add honey or agave syrup to help soothe it even more!
- Drink Citrus
- Lemon juice, lime juice, or any fruit juice will help cut through the phlegm.
- Add some fresh lemon to room temperature or slightly cooled water and drink plenty!
- Salt Water Gargle
- You can also gargle with mouthwash
- Do once every four hours for maximum disinfecting and soothing a sore throat
- Neti Pot
- Nasal lavage and sinus rinses are fantastic for feeling less congested
- Support your breathing
- This is extremely important for singing when you’re not sick, but even more important when you are sick and have to sing
- Make an extra effort to focus on breath support while you’re sick
- Don’t push yourself too hard
- You may not sound how you normally do, and that’s okay. Don’t try to make yourself do everything perfectly.
If your throat is killing you and you have to sing, use throat lozenges or Chloraseptic sprays to numb your throat. This is not recommended unless in dire circumstances because you are numbing your throat, so you are unaware of any damage you may be doing.
Remember that you only get one voice, and you need to take care of it as much as the rest of your body–maybe even more!