Ah, the Fall is here and it’s cold season once again. As a singer, were all weary of becoming a flu magnet. Luckily, there are precautions that you can take to battle, prevent, and flush a cold from your system. The following features a partial excerpt from my book Raise Your Voice to help keep your voice in road-worthy, stage-ready shape!
Nothing is worse than having to deal with a cold. Many singers refrain from singing (and speaking in some cases) with a cold, due to the fear of damaging their voices. Singing with a cold is quite possible, although uncomfortable. If you use proper vocal technique, your voice will be fine. A cold is an infection in the sinuses, the throat, or the lungs, or it could be a combination of all three.
An infection of the upper throat is referred to as pharyngitis. Your throat will be sore but you will still be able to speak or sing. Pharyngitis may be very painful, but as long as there is no infection in the vocal cords, you’ll still be able to make it through a performance, although it won’t feel that fun. Keep the sound out of the throat and focused into the resonant cavities of the head.
The only time you should avoid speaking or singing is if you have laryngitis, which is an infection of the vocal cords. Your throat will feel swollen and sore. It could be so painful that you might not be able to speak. Swallowing will be difficult. The vocal cords are swollen due to the infection and enlarged blood vessels. In this state, the cords will not vibrate correctly.
Do not speak or sing with laryngitis. You could damage your vocal cords. This includes whispering and gargling. Whispering is a quiet shout and gargling forces air past the irritated cords. The best remedy for laryngitis is plenty of water and absolute silence. Try a warm mist humidifier at night to moisten the air. Give your voice time to heal. Visit your doctor to see if antibiotics could help.
If you are developing a cold, this is a signal that your body is full of toxins and needs to cleanse itself of toxin overload. Once you notice cold symptoms developing, there are several things you can do to help the cleansing process along and shorten the duration of the cold:
When you notice the first signs of a cold: sore throat, congestion, coughing, etc., you must take immediate action. If you are under physical or mental stress, your body’s supply of vitamin C and Calcium are rapidly depleted. Both are important nutrients in fighting infection. At first sign of a cold, immediately increase your vitamin C and Calcium/Magnesium intake. Both can be purchased at any drug store. Magnesium helps to increase the body’s absorption of Calcium, so it is wiser to take a combination of the two. Take 500 milligrams of vitamin C and 999 milligrams of Calcium every two hours until the symptoms start to diminish.
Zinc lozenges are beneficial during a cold. Zinc is proven to fight infection and to relieve a sore throat. An herbal combination of Goldenseal and Echinacea is excellent for fighting infection in the body. A few drops of Colloidal Silver under the tongue will be absorbed into the blood stream. Colloidal Silver is like a natural antibiotic and fights all forms of infection.
Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. If you feel you might have pneumonia, see your doctor. To break up chest congestion, tap repeatedly on your chest to loosen phlegm in your lungs. This will enable you to cough up and expel the mucus. Cup your hands and tap on your chest as if it were a drum. If you have someone tap on your back, the results will be better. Breathing steam or using a vaporizer helps to keep your lungs hydrated and will also loosen mucus.
Choose wisely any over-the-counter drugs you might take to fight a cold. Many only mask the symptoms, slowing down the healing process. There are several herbs listed in the next chapter that relieve pain, loosen congestion, and aid the healing process. A throat gargle is beneficial for a sore throat. Many are described in Raise Your Voice but one I now particularly like is Vocal Rescue from SuperiorVocalHealth.com. As well, they also offer “Sinus Clear Out” which will help to boost your system to stave off those stuffy sinuses.
Now you should be well prepared to sing your heart out, even with the onset of a cold!