It’s that time of the year when seasonal allergies assault the system, making it an even greater challenge to perfect or protect your voice or even find it!
It’s also the time of the year, at least in the Northern hemisphere, where we spent a lot more time outdoors and are exposed to the elements with greater frequency.
Brett Manning says that the singer affected by pollen in the throat will not be able to perform at optimal level.
“An allergic singer simply will not live up to his or her standard of singing if allergies set in,” Brett said. “There are over 60 muscles that directly influence singing. If any of those muscles are affected by excess mucous production or by allergy-induced edema (muscle swelling) of the chords themselves, the singer will find that the voice is a stubborn instrument indeed.”
Drink Lots of Water
Most allergies are treated with a combination of antihistamines and decongestants. Though these treatments provide relief, they also dry out the system, especially the throat and entire vocal system that’s engaged when singing.
Whenever taking these medications you need to increase your intake of water. If you don’t like water, try adding small amounts of flavor to it like fresh-squeezed lemon, orange, or grapefruit.
Avoid milk and other dairy products that can further irritate your throat. Stay clear of alcohol and caffeine which can further contribute to dehydration. Alcohol can even numb the vocal chords and too much will obviously impair control of your instrument.
Natural Healing Remedies
To help lessen the impact of allergies, Manning recommends taking care of the body and its healing properties with natural remedies.
“For me, it’s really an issue of nourishing my body’s endocrine (hormone) system and my respiratory system. Through my own research, I’ve learned that most allergies are caused from weaknesses in these systems,” Brett said.
He recommends two herbal formulas, Prime Again and Conco, and has used these products for more than a decade and has stayed allergy free.
“I also recommend a few herbal teas that work wonderfully for singers with allergies, including Calli Tea for prevention and Fortune Delight for quick relief,” Brett said.
He also stresses the value of proper nutrition in winning the battle against allergies, encouraging singers avoid refined sugars, excess dairy products, and wheat during the allergy season.
More Healthy Tips
Other tips for minimizing the impact of seasonal allergies includes staying away from smoke filled environments as much as possible. This is becoming easier as communities pass laws to promote smoke-free establishments. But if you are in a place where smoking is allowed step outside as frequently as possible for fresh air.
The use of aspirin should be kept to a minimum as studies have shown that it can contribute to tinnitus and vocal chord hemorrhage. Excessive loud talking and yelling can not only lead to vocal strain but make you more vulnerable to allergy irritation and infection. Excessive coughing and clearing your throat can irritate as well. Instead make it a habit to swallow or sip water to help clear things up.
No Fans After Dark
Finally, don’t sleep with your fan on, as tempting as it may be on hot summer nights when you don’t want to run the AC and don’t want to throw open the windows. Sleeping with a fan blowing on you will likely cause scratchiness in the voice, possible breathing issues such as wheezing. Cranking up the AC can cause the throat to dry out as well. That’s one more reason to stay hydrated.