How To Recover Your Voice After A Cold Or Flu

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How To Recover Your Voice After A Cold Or Flu


Recover Your Voice After Flu

If you’ve recently come down with a cold or sore throat, there are specific things you can do to help you recover your voice. Do you have a big performance planned in just a few days. Did you wake up with no voice this morning after that cold you had last week? This is a situation that might render you PANIC stricken but don’t you worry, relax.

Here Is What You Can Do To Rescue The Situation:

Remember that old adage “prevention is better than cure”? Well, the best way to recover from a loss of your voice is not to lose it in the first place and perhaps the best way to avoid losing your voice is to avert getting any respiratory infection. Easier said than done right?

Reduce Your Chance Of Getting Colds and Flu:

  1. Wash your hands frequently. If you aren’t near a facility with running water (such as an outdoor performance venue), carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you and use it.
  2. Try to avoid shaking hands with anyone who is coughing or sniffling. The most common method of transmission for infections is hand-to-hand contact. If you can’t avoid the handshake, wash your hands ASAP, and don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth in the meantime.
  3. If you are the one coughing or sniffling, don’t shake hands with anyone. If offered a handshake, grip your two hands together and say something like, “I’m glad to meet you, but I don’t think you want my cold.” If the other person is also a singer, s/he will understand and thank you for it.
  4. When you cough or sneeze, do it into a tissue, handkerchief, or your sleeve.
  5. Avoid sharing drinking vessels with anyone (water bottles, soda cans, whatever).
  6. Get plenty of rest and eat a healthy diet. A well-rested body is better able to resist infection.

If you weren’t able to avoid catching a respiratory infection, but haven’t lost your voice yet, you can take several steps to ride out the infection with your voice intact.

  1. Avoid speaking at all unless absolutely necessary. When you must speak, speak softly and at a higher pitch than usual. DON’T WHISPER! Whispering is the most stressful thing you can do to your throat.
  2. Drink lots of water. A hydrated larynx functions better.
  3. Drink hot liquids. Herbal tea is especially soothing, but almost anything will do; what matters is that it’s hot. The warmth soothes inflamed structures–it’s the same principle as putting a heating pad on a sore muscle. Also, breathing the steam may help relieve nasal congestion.
  4. Go easy on your rehearsals if possible. If you have to sing, use your head voice as much as possible. It’s a lot less stressful for your throat. DON’T sing at full volume in rehearsal. Save your voice for the performance.
  5. Work even harder than usual on your breathing exercises. If you are coughing, try to get a good deep breath before the cough; you will then be able to expel more “crud”.
  6. If you can, get even more sleep than usual. Sleep is often the best medicine.
  7. When you shower or bathe, don’t use the vent fan–let the room get steamy. Breathing in the warm moist air can help relieve chest or nasal congestion.
  8. For sinus congestion (if you feel pressure in your cheeks or forehead), soak a wash cloth in hot water, wring it out, and lay it over your face while you rest for a few minutes. Again, the warmth may relieve some of the congestion. It’s also soothing and relaxing.

If you’ve lost your voice anyway, don’t despair. Keep doing all of the above tips.

If the cold has gone on for more than two weeks, or if you thought you were over it and it came back, it’s time to see a doctor. You may have developed a secondary bacterial infection and need antibiotics. Even if you don’t need an antibiotic, prescription decongestants and cough suppressants may be helpful.

Even if you have lost your voice, you can still do a few vocal exercises. The breathing exercises are especially vital, but easy and non-stressful things like yawn-slides, vocal sirens, and humming can keep your apparatus functioning. Use your head voice as much as you can–it takes stress away from your throat.

Try to speak or sing over the infection–at a higher pitch than usual, using your head voice. It’s counter-intuitive; your instinct is to try to whisper or speak at a lower pitch, but those are the two WORST things you can do.

As you recover, keep using your head voice as much as you can. As your voice returns, usually your upper register comes back first, then your lower register, then your passaggio/middle register. And it WILL return; you just have to wait it out.

Of course, “just be patient” is not what you want to hear when your voice is your livelihood, or even if it’s not your livelihood, merely important to your mental health. But if you try to rush back into full-volume singing you run the risk of causing lasting damage. That would be even worse than being patient!


Source by Jaye Evans

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