Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Vocal Health During Flu/Cold Season!

I am home sick today!

Between planes, trains and automobiles, and 50 degree changes from coast to coast - it was bound to happen!!

I decided to speak on this as I am beginning to feel better later in the day, especially when opera audition season is beginning, ongoing auditions for music theatre are in the works, and we are entering flu and cold season!

There was a time in my life when I wouldn't have stayed home today and would have pushed through. As I get older, I don't bounce back like I did in my 20s (!!) (or 30s!) and have begun to realize what my body needs in order to still get work done without compromising my health!

I am no good to any singer in the studio if I am sick. And I don't want them to share their germs with me, so likewise, I do not want to share mine with them.

How are you looking after your general health as we enter the busy season and the sick season? Do you take the necessary time off to get under yourself and get healing again?

If we are going to be in public, and public means people, we are bound to pick up germs at some point! It is inevitable. It's annoying, but inevitable.

So how do you keep yourself as healthy as possible?

I would love to hear your protocols and ideas!

Hydration is key. Are you drinking enough water? I am often guilty of this myself and need to hydrate more regularly when I am NOT in the studio.

Rest. Not just sleep, but REST. STILLNESS. Very important to allow the body to regenerate.

A multi-vitamin with minerals to keep the immune system high is important.

Neti=pot users swear by it. I finally got on the bandwagon last year, and it really does keep the sinuses free of bacteria and pressure. For those of you who are chronic sinus infection prone, you might really want to look into this!

I use zinc tablets - in moderation as it can make my stomach upset. Great for throat ailments like swelling, and for minor laryngitis.

Oil of oregano has been shown to have great antifungal, antibacterial properties when used correctly.

I make a tea that is just chopped up lemons (with rinds) and ginger root in a pot of water. Boil it gently and strain and drink. Great for antioxidants, relieves throat/gland/sinus pressure and swelling and cleanses the system. I drink this often, not just when I get sick!

I use hand sanitizer! DAILY! And wash my hands OFTEN.

Steam is great for moisture and for sinus pressure.

Mucinex is great to break down and move the phlegm when it begins to collect!

Essential oils - peppermint, spearmint, lavender etc - can be soothing and comforting. Find those oils that you respond to and nurture yourself!

As a teacher, and singer, I am using my voice constantly. So, by taking a day off, it allows for vocal rest - which is most important if I am fighting something off. Vocal rest and hydration is key to allow for my health and energy to return.

When in doubt, take a day and REST!!! I have had to learn how to do that - so don't worry if it's difficult for you! I have found that I get healthier much quicker if I just take a day off and nurture myself. Otherwise, the fatigue and ache can last much longer.

Often, after I have dealt with an ailment, taking a massage and/or acupuncture treatment to help move the lymph and energy through the body again can be a marvellous thing! This is NOT an indulgence!!! If you are a teacher and/or singer, your body is your instrument and your instrument is your work. INSURE it through INVESTING in it.

Off to my ginger root/lemon tea and my book...

Look after YOU.


  1. Great post, and definitely stuff to think about! We often get s caught up in what's going on and what we need to do that we often forget to take care of ourselves. I generally get knocked out for about 2 weeks sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    I've learned, the SECOND I start feeling I may be coming down with something, to take Airboure every morning for a week or so (or, if I know I'll be flying or doing a lot of meet & greet type stuff to start taking it a few days before). I think there have been studies out saying Airbourne isn't really effective, but, I'm convinced it is - even if it's just psychological, I'll keep using it. I also start right away on zinc and vitamin C lozenges. I have definitely noticed I recover more quickly if I start taking these things right away. It does not help as much if I wait a day or two from when I start to feel "off." And, of course, I rest/sleep as much as I can.

    In my case, I know I have to very deliberately make sure I don't push myself to do more than I should. Disappointing someone by not going out or singing when I know I shouldn't is not nearly as important as taking care of myself.

  2. I actually make the very same tea Susan, and it works beautfully all the time. (There is also a product out called "Ginger Drink" by Gold Killi that is a much stronger version of it that comes in a dried form....just add water. (Much faster and less messy)

    You can get it from amazon.com if you reside in the US. Great post!

  3. Gold Kili makes a Ginger Drink that is all natural, sugar free and less messy then the lemon/ginger mentioned above, which I also make. You can get this drink mix through Amazon.com.

  4. thanks for that link!!!! It would be great to take on the road in dried form!

  5. good advice that i'm needing right now!

    ruth *sniffle sniffle*