These 7 essential items will make sure your voice is prepared for anything this Winter.
1) A Steamer
Steam is the only way you can directly hydrate your vocal folds. If your voice is froggy or struggling to shake off a chesty cough, steam can really loosen things up.
Dane Chalfin, a voice rehabilitation expert says:
Steam can restore topical moisture and it can help break up thick sticky mucus.
Although steaming is a cure for a husky or tired voice, done daily it can keep the vocal folds supple and lubricated to help avoid injury.
Many professional singers specifically recommend Dr Nelson’s Steamer which seems to have a deeper and quicker effect.
2) A Neti Pot
When there are nasty viruses and bacteria floating through the air you may benefit from regularly flushing out your nasal passageways.
Doctor Tom Harris says:
Rinsing the nasal passages with salty water relieves nasal congestion. Saline solution works as well as any decongestant.
You simply fill it with pre-boiled water (allowed to cool to body temperature) and add a pinch of salt. Then tilt your head to the side and pour the saline solution up one nostril and allow it to drain out of the opposite nostril. Repeat both sides.
It is recommended that you do this on a weekly basis so you don’t dry out the delicate membranes inside your nose.
3) Natural Salt
Salt is a traditional cleanser and can reduce inflammation in the back of the throat by drawing out the excess liquid that creates swelling.
Doctor Sorana Segal-Maurer explains:
You’re pulling out a lot of fluids from the tissues in the throat area, so you’re washing the virus out.
It is recommended that you use an unprocessed natural salt such as Himalayan pink salt or grey Celtic sea salt for your gargle or neti pot to avoid bleaching compounds.
4) A filtered water bottle
Singers are often seen clutching at their water bottle. By owning your own bottle, you can feel confident about the quality, source and hygiene of that water.
It can take hours for your vocal folds to become properly hydrated so take sips throughout the day and make hydration a lifestyle.
Doctor Ron Scherer says:
If you are not well-hydrated the vocal folds can become irritated more quickly, leading to redness and swelling.
Brita have created a great new product which is a ‘fill and go’ water bottle with changeable filters to make sure your drinking water is extra purified.
5) Manuka Honey
Any honey is a demulcent which may have the power to sooth a sore throat or suppress a cough. But Manuka honey has been proven to have a much higher antibacterial power than regular honey.
Doctor Josh Axe even says:
Manuka stops the growth of sore throat-causing Strep bacteria.
Since honey is so delicious it can be eaten in many ways, but to get the best coverage try mixing a spoonful with warm water and gargling with it – and if your palate can stomach it, add a pinch of salt for an extra cleansing.
See this article about the benefits of Manuka honey on Doctor Josh Axe’s website.
6) Vitamin C
The most effective way to ward off a cold using vitamin C is to stock up early and take 1000 mg per day throughout the Winter season.
Doctor Anthony Jahn says:
If a cold does start, either increase to 4000 mg (in divided does).
Studies* suggest that vitamin C may have the power to reduce the length and severity of your cold and may even prevent viral infections all together.
Of course the best way to consume vitamin C is naturally, however medical professionals do tolerate effervescent tablets to boost your immune system where necessary.
7) A Voice Rest Badge
With all the nasty germs floating about in the frosty air you may find you want to preserve and protect your voice more. And, if you are trying to get your post-flu voice back in shape you may want to give your vocal folds a day or 2 of rest.
By wearing a badge to signify your speaking and singing sabbatical you are reminding yourself to be quiet and showing everyone around you how serious you are about your vocal health. This badge from www.zazzle.com is perfect for the job.
* Studies on the effectiveness of vitamin C: The effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing and relieving the symptoms of virus-induced respiratory infections and Preventing the common cold with a vitamin C supplement: A double-blind, placebo-controlled survey