It’s summer time, and the livin’ is not easy for those of us suffering from allergies!
Breathing can be difficult during these hot and humid months, let alone singing. Whether you get a sore and scratchy throat, or you are constantly blowing your nose, read on to learn how to deal with your allergies and still sing your best.
Dr. Stephen M.S. Kurtz wrote an article in the Huffington Post discussing how allergies can actually cause you to lose your voice. He explained that, “allergies can affect the voice in various ways. When you inhale pollen, exposure to allergens can cause direct inflammation of the vocal folds. In addition, coughing and postnasal drip can irritate the vocal folds, and restricted lungs and an inflamed nose can also alter the voice.”
Even though you might not be sneezing up a storm, your voice is still exposed to all the allergens in the air when you go outside. So if your voice has been feeling tired or breathy lately, you might have allergies and not even know it!
Ok, so now that we know how allergies affect the voice, all we need to do is head over to the pharmacy and grab some medicine, right…? Well, yes… but you need to be very careful. Nasal sprays work best, because as Kurtz says, “over-the-counter antihistamines such as fexofenadine (Allegra) and cetirizine (Zyrtec) ... can dry up the body's mucus -- and when it comes to the voice, that's a problem.” As we know, we need some mucus in our vocal folds to keep them lubricated. Otherwise they get scratchy and irritated, causing us to sound hoarse or raspy. And while you might like your new sultry sounding voice, you should see your doctor if medicine does not help, or makes it worse.
What if you don’t want to take medicine?
Some natural remedies for allergies are:
- Drink LOTS of water. LOTS. Keeping things hydrated will help your vocal folds replenish the mucus it is losing, or keep the excessive mucus from building up.
Drink herbal teas (ie. Throat Coat, Sleepytime Tea, etc.). The warm liquid will help soothe any irritation, and also remove excess mucus. Avoid teas with caffeine, as they could dry out your vocal folds more.
Take a hot shower before you need to sing. The steam can help remove sinus pressure and clear out your nasal passages, allowing you to sing more easily.
Use a Neti Pot! They clear everything out of your nasal passages, and I mean everything… Make sure you read the instructions on how to use the Neti Pot safely, but a lot of people swear by it.
These are just a few tips for taking care of your voice during allergy season, but the most important thing to remember is to take it easy when you are not feeling 100%. Warm up gently by humming or sighing, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Drink lots of water, get good rest, and visit your doctor if you need to!
Comment below with your remedies for singing with allergies! We would love to hear what works for you!