Singing & Colds
the effect a cold has on the voice youve got to act quickly.
Keep in mind that congestion, mucus, is what your body produces
to flush out toxins. Over-the-counter medications (anti-histamines)
dry up congestion but prohibit the necessary house cleaning. They
also dry mucous membranes, like your vocal folds, which will cause
you to lose your voice. So, reach for the decongestants as an
absolute last resort.
If you have
time, instead of squashing the symptoms, help speed up the cleanse.
Flood yourself with water and real juices to thin the congestion,
lubricate your folds and flush your body. The juice should be
freshly squeezed in order to get the most benefit. The best types
during a cold are Orange (vitamin C), Celery (retains fluids),
Cucumber & Cranberry (cleans acid deposits) and Carrot (vitamin
A). If youre not into juices, take supplements. The water-based
vitamins like C and B complex are the first to be depleted when
youre fighting a cold.
benefit of hydrating is that it may keep a cold from reaching
your lungs. Throat clearing and coughing, which normally accompanies
a cold, is very irritating to the vocal folds. The delicate membranes
in and around the larynx become swollen and rigid, which is why
your voice gets so deep and restricted. Inhaling steam will help
loosen congestion in the lungs as well as soothe the vocal folds.
Be careful when inhaling steam, you can burn your lips and nasal
passages. Gargling with warm salt water will also help draw phlegm
away from your larynx. (If the salt is collecting at the bottom
of the glass, youve put in too much.) This is a good routine
to get into daily, to clean and increase circulation of the mouth
and throat. Teas, honey, or any other coating therapy may soothe
soar muscles but will not heal the vocal folds.
take a long hot shower and do some light stretching and exercising
to get your blood circulating. To reduce the swelling and get
singing again, youve got to vocalize (warm up). Low volume,
barely audible, humming is a great way to start. Let your larynx
choose the pitches. Its better to stay with one single note
(whichever is most comfortable) than to push or force the range.
Allow plenty of time for your voice to loosen. Rushing the warm-up
when you have a cold will greatly reduce the longevity of your
voice and make conditions worse the next day.