Eight Ways To Avoid Catching a Cold for Singers and Speakers
The Common Cold
Easy Prevention Strategies For Warding Off A Cold
The common cold is most people's curse. Along with a stuffy nose and loss of energy, we may be threatened with a painful sore throat. Fortunately, it may be possible to ward off not only the common cold, with accompanying sore throat, but even certain types of the flu.
The following tips can help to protect you from coming down with a bad cold:
1. Wash, wash, wash your hands. If I'm paranoid about anything it would be washing my busy little hands. And I don't mean holding them under a few drips of running water and leaving it at that.
When I wash these hands of mine I suds up like mad, make sure the water is hot, and scrub while I sing through "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" or "Mary Had A Little Lamb" two or three times. I finish with a quick dry using a clean towel, paper towel, or hand dryer found in most public bathrooms. If a doorknob is staring at me upon leaving the room I use a piece of toilet tissue, a paper towel, or if I have to, the tail-end of my shirt to protect my hands from picking up more germs.
2. Drinking-Water. Staying hydrated helps to flush out toxins. Concentrate on drinking at least eight glasses of water a day. By the time you feel thirsty, you're most likely already dehydrated. We usually don't feel the urge to drink water in the rainy season so be alert and if you have to, keep a record of your water intake. Dehydration affects the proper functioning of our body.
3. Nutrition. Regardless of how many times you read about the benefits of eating a healthy diet, it bears repeating. Stuff yourself with those veggies, fruits, fish, legumes and avoid red meat (or at least limit your servings) as well as all the tempting sugary criminals and high fats. Read up on the benefits of virgin olive oil, garlic, kale, broccoli, and other superfoods.
4. Supplements. With busy schedules, hectic activities, or being a fast-food junkie, sometimes our meal planning suffers and we just don't get enough vitamins and minerals needed to build a healthy immune system. This is where supplements can help. It's really tough to get all the nutrients you need from food. Check with your doctor first before adding supplements to your diet, especially if you're on medication.
How Much Water Should I Drink?
Sea Salt or Regular Salt?
When You Feel That Tickle In Your Throat Coming On
As soon as that familiar tickle announces itself:
5. Reach for the nasal saline spray. This combination of salt and water washes out germs that linger around waiting for your immune system to become exhausted so they can attack you. When you first feel the slightest tickle in your throat you are being alerted that drainage is beginning. By flushing your nasal passages you are preventing the mucus from getting too thick and hopefully side-tracking those germs.
(Turn your head side-to-side and tilt your face towards the ceiling to reach all areas.)
6. Gargle with warm salt water. I prefer using sea salt but regular salt is just as effective. Make sure your water is good and warm but not hot. I also sometimes add a little baking soda. Add 3/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. soda to 1 pint of very warm water. Stir and gargle. Adding cayenne pepper to the mix will usually stop soreness in its tracks.
Swishing this same concoction also washes away any germs that can lodge in the back of your mouth. It also stops those painful little canker sores . . . and quick.
Popeye Was Right. Eat Your Spinach
Keep Your Colon Clean
7. During the holidays double up on everything you regularly take (vitamin C, fluids, veggies, and all that good stuff) to build up your immune system.
The reason cold and flu symptoms show up around the Christmas season is because our immune system is weakened to the point that any virus can attack you. We over-eat, party, shop, get less sleep and have more stress. This lowers our immune system.
8. Keep your colon clean. Did you know that if your colon is clean you're less likely to get sick? Most problems we have with illness are a result of a toxic colon. Keeping this organ clean helps your body to absorb more nutrients from your food and supplements.
To maintain a healthy, clean colon eat plenty of fiber-rich foods, drink plenty of water, take vitamin D, and exercise. If you opt to do a colon cleanse be sure to check with your doctor first.
A Word About Strep Throat
If your throat is pretty darn sore and you're running a fever over 101 F you may have strep throat. Also, check for white patches in the back of the throat. Your lymph nodes may be swollen and somewhat tender when you have strep throat.
With a regular sore throat, the pain most likely goes away after a few days. But with strep, the throat hurts worse and can last longer. You may also lose your appetite or even be nauseated.
Strep throat is caused by an infection called Streptococcus. Be sure to see a doctor if you suspect strep throat. If you let it go without treatment this infection can affect your organs including your heart. Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic to treat a painful strep infection.
Protect These Areas of Your Body
I remember what my mother would tell me when I was little and wanted to play outside during cold weather. " Put on your coat and don't forget your hat!" I heard this so often it used to make me mad. But now I've come to realize just how important her advice was. We lose about 40% of our body heat through the head alone.
Your hands and feet need protection too. These areas lose as much as 30% of your body heat. So it's not enough just to wear a warm coat or jacket. Pay attention to your hands, feet, and head. Bundle up!
Vitamin C May Help to Prevent A Sore Throat
Handy Hints For Singers And Speakers
If singing and speaking are your lively hood you have a huge responsibility to protect your voice and feed your body a nutritious diet. During cold and flu season be especially proactive when it comes to your health. Review these tips to help save your voice:
- Do not ask more of your voice than it can bear. Too much song-singing can be harmful. It taxes the voice adding strain and even abuse.
- Limit your singing to a comfortable range. Pushing the voice to sing too high or too low causes damage to the vocal bands.
- Use only diaphragmatic breathing. This applies to speakers as well as singers. Avoid chest breathing. Breathing from this area prevents the much-needed support to sustain tones and lyrics. Speakers and singers often experience hoarseness when substituting chest breathing for diaphragmatic breathing.
- Rest your voice when ill. Your vocal organs need time to recuperate during and after an illness.
- Avoid sudden changes in temperature. This includes going from a warm cozy room into the cold outdoors. Bundle up and protect your head, ears, and throat. Air conditioning can also pose problems.
- Try to avoid contact with sick people.
- Don't be embarrassed to wear a mask when you're out in public. The late Michael Jackson is known for taking this precaution.
A cold is natures way of flushing toxins from your system. It actually "cleans house." When your body is very toxic it lowers your resistance making you vulnerable to all sorts of viruses and infections. A person with a cold is most contagious during the first 2 - 3 days.
And do you realize that when we experience criticism or a negative attitude from people around us we open ourselves up to getting sick or even acquiring worse problems? So surround yourself with compassionate, positive, caring people when you aren't feeling well.
Keep in mind that it's your body that's sick and not your brain. So even though you feel like crap you will heal faster by repeating positive affirmations and completely ignore signs of negativity.
Laughter is indeed the best medicine. Encourage humor from others and find it however you can while you're sick. Remember the illness is usually temporary so do the best you can to get through each day.
Good health to you and thanks for being here.
How Often Do You Catch a Cold?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2016 Audrey Hunt