Singers with allergies often find it difficult to sing with a scratchy throat or stuffy nose, particularly during spring when it arrives with allergy season. If you have practice or performance to prepare for, allergy symptoms could be a major inconvenience and frustration. They can affect everything from breathing and tone to vocal cord strength. However, by taking the right steps before performing, you can alleviate these symptoms and ensure your singing is still at its best.
The following are some ways to prevent allergy symptoms from getting in your way as a singer.
Take Allergy Medication
The most effective way to get rid of allergy symptoms is to treat them all at once. The right allergy medicine will help prevent mucus from coating your vocal cords and negatively affecting your singing ability. They achieve this by drying up your sinuses. Try to take the allergy medication as soon as you feel symptoms starting up.
Keep in mind that these medications will dry you out, which is why you must drink plenty of water after taking them. Neglecting to drink water after taking allergy medicine could impede your singing ability as badly as allergy symptoms, so make sure you hydrate before performing. If you discover that allergy medicine dries you out too much, you can try other supplements, such as Vitamin C pills.
Drink Herbal Tea
Another remedy you can try is herbal tea, which can effectively clear your throat of excess mucus. This tea is also soothing for your vocal cords and can enable you to sing without the risk of cracking or straining your voice. If you would prefer sweetened tea, try adding a bit of lemon or honey to improve its flavor without affecting your voice.
Clear Your Nasal Passages Every Day
If other tricks don’t work and you still experience congestion, try using a Neti pot. You’ll find these in most pharmacies and they work by removing allergens from your sinuses through rinsing. The sensation may be uncomfortable at first, but many Neti pot users eventually get used to it and even come to like it after repeated use.
While Neti pots are generally safe to use, it’s important to take some steps to avoid potentially serious infections. The biggest risk comes from using plain tap water. Instead, use store-bought sterile or distilled water, cooled or boiled tap water, or water that passes through a filter designed to remove infectious bacteria and other organisms.
Take a Shower
If other steps don’t work for you, then you can try taking a long, hot shower. This creates a sauna effect that helps clear your sinuses and removes drainage. After enjoying your shower, remove any remaining drainage covering your vocal cords by drinking some water or herbal tea.
Vaseline or Alternatives
One popular solution for keeping the nose clear of pollen is to rub Vaseline on the rims of the nostrils, which traps pollen. However, while the petroleum jelly in Vaseline is typically safe for use, accidentally breathing it in over long periods of time can harm the lungs. In most cases, when entering the nose, the petroleum jelly would harmlessly drain down the back of the nose like mucus and the individual would swallow it. In rare instances, a small portion of the jelly might travel through the windpipe into the lungs. If this occurs over months of use, the jelly could build up in the lungs, potentially causing a condition known as lipoid pneumonia.
This risk is why you may be better off seeking an alternative to Vaseline if you want a more commonly used solution. Some safe alternatives that achieve the same goal include humidifiers or vaporizers, saline nasal spray, or water-soluble lubricants. Using any of these can help further clear your sinuses and prevent allergens from affecting your voice.
Take Other Steps to Reduce the Risk of Allergies
While you can treat the symptoms of allergies, you can avoid them altogether by preventing allergens from entering your system. Doing so will help keep your voice clear all season without the need for as much treatment. In turn, this will help you better prepare for regular music lessons in the spring.
Some natural ways you can prevent allergies include:
Shutting Windows When Pollen Is Present
One of the best ways to avert allergies is to keep the windows and doors closed at all times when there’s a breeze and the pollen count is high. Additionally, HEPA filters installed in AC systems and filters on furnaces can further block out pollen.
Wash Up After Spending Time Outside
Taking a shower isn’t just a great way to clear your sinuses—it can also help remove any allergens on your body that you might have carried from outside. Taking either a shower or bath and changing clothes can effectively wash away allergens that might otherwise cause problems later.
Maintain a Clean Home
Keeping the home consistently clean is another way to eliminate allergens. On the other hand, chemical cleaners could actually make symptoms worse and cause irritation to nasal passages. In lieu of chemical cleaning products, stick with natural cleaners such as baking soda and vinegar. In addition, you can use a vacuum cleaner fitted with a HEPA filter.
Avoid Cigarettes and Other Sources of Irritating Fumes
Cigarette smoke can cause symptoms such as watery eyes and an itchy, runny, or stuffy nose. Wood-burning fireplace smoke and aerosol sprays could also cause the same symptoms when inhaled. Not to mention that smoking cigarettes can more directly hurt your singing voice.
Identify Specific Triggers and Avoid Them
By taking an allergy skin test, you can easily determine what you’re specifically allergic to, which can help you figure out the best ways to avoid these items. For instance, you might be surprised to find that you’re allergic to certain foods or drinks you thought were harmless.
Don’t Let Allergies Impact Your Voice
With the right precautions, allergies don’t have to get in the way of your practice sessions or performances in the spring. By taking these steps, you’ll be able to alleviate symptoms and avoid allergies to preserve your voice. We can help you or your child thrive musically through engaging and personalized teaching techniques. If you would like additional information about our voice lessons or schedule a lesson with us today, contact us online or call one of our offices today.