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Should You Sing With A Cold? - Part 1


I get asked this question all the time by singers...

...'Should you or shouldn't you sing with a cold'.

This is a MASSIVE subject so I'm going to break it down into 2 instalments.

I'd like to begin part 1 by reminding you that... your body IS Your Instrument so you need to take care of it!

Your body IS Your Instrument so you need to take care of it!

The best defence that you have against colds is to be as healthy as you can be...

  • Watch your diet - There are so many different health promoting diets out there so I'm not going to go into this subject in depth here but personally, I try to fill my diet with as much natural organic unprocessed plant based food as possible. If I have a big gig or tour coming up, I avoid dairy because it can trigger excess mucous production (dark chocolate doesn't count in my book LOL) & I avoid drinking too much caffeine & alcohol because they both cause dehydration & alcohol causes the muscles in your throat to constrict & helps to stabilise your body when you lift, pull or push something heavy by closing off the trachea & pressurising the air in your lungs (ever notice that weight lifters hold their breath?)
  • ​Stay hydrated - Your body is made up of about 60% water & depends on it to survive. On average, adult humans need to intake at least 2 litres of fluids per day.
  • Sleep - A lack of sleep leads to stress & fatigue which in turn can have a massive affect on your immune system & voice. It's also your strongest weapon against fighting off infections.
  • Exercise - As a singer, keeping yourself in great physical shape is a must! Not only can exercise increase your cardiovascular strength, breath stamina, muscle tone & flexibility, it also stimulates the release of endorphins, promotes relaxation & sweat carries toxins out of the body.
  • Supplements - I'm not going to tell you to take a multivitamin & mineral supplement but I will tell you that I do. In the winter, when we have less exposure to natural sunlight, you can be vitamin D deficient & when you're fighting a cold, water soluble vitamins like C & B are the 1st to be depleted.
  • Honey - At the 1st sign of a cold, I would recommend taking manuka honey (the highest strength you can afford) & using bee propolis spray but DON'T add honey to warm/hot water, eat it raw!
  • Echinacea - Is a great supplement to take, not only is it loaded with antioxidants, it improves immunity.
  • Hot Lemon, Ginger & Turmeric - At the 1st sign of a cold I drink warm water with freshly squeezed lemon as an excellent soothing source of vitamin C, mixed with these anti-oxidant & anti-inflammatory power houses, freshly grated ginger & turmeric.
  • Steam - Inhaling steam helps soothe & lubricate the vocal folds. It also helps soften any mucus stuck in the lungs helping to reduce dry coughing.
  • Vocal teas - There are lots of different herbal teas recommended for singers but I personally love the powerhouse that is 'Throat Coat' because it contains some awesome goodies including licorice root, marshmallow root, cinnamon, lemon peel & echinacea
  • Gargle - Gargling with warm salty water will soothe your throat, help clear phlegm from your vocal folds, reduce the chance of infections in the mouth & throat, reduce inflammation & increase the circulation in your mouth & throat.

Remember, to take care of yourself!

So there you have it, part 1 of my 'Singers & Colds Series'. I hope this has been useful & keep an eye out for part 2 it will be released soon!

About Karen

Karen is a vocal coach & 2x top 5 Billboard charting & BBC Radio play listed independent artist. 

She has played at some of the best venues in the world including The Isle Of Wight Festival, Bluebird Cafe Nashville, Hammersmith Apollo, Royal Albert Hall, supporting & working with an elite roster of the industry's finest artists, writers & producers, including Hans Zimmer, Robbie Williams, Ollie Murs, Mike & The Mechanics & Girls Aloud.

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