As a singer, when you start to feel sick and you have to sing, that’s a BIG problem. First, you can always sing with a cold. Even though you might not want to, singing can help heal your cold quicker. The vibrations that you produce in your sinuses and chest bone cavities stimulate warmth and bring the good cells to help fight the infection. Of course, gargling with salt water does amazing things. Take one cup of hot water (hot as you can stand it), put ¼ tsp of salt and gargle every hour for 48 hours. Also using a “Neti Pot” to flush out the infection is a must. Remember always use filtered or distilled water with 1/8 tsp of sea salt. There have been reported cases of people doing damage to their bodies when they used tap water and iodized salt.
Usually I give my body one week at the most to be sick. If you start to sing, check your break notes on these vowels: a, e, i, o, u. The vowel a, e, and o will be most affected when you are sick. If no sound comes out, then you must go to an E.N.T., an Ear, Throat, Nose, doctor who is a specialist that has seen many possible problems that could go wrong with a singer’s instrument. If I am sick for a week with fevers, I go to my E.N.T. doctor. They will give me the low down on what is the problem and what drugs I should take so I can get the infection over with and be able to sing. My doctor would always say get more sleep and eat hot soups as well.
Lately, more voice students are coming in sick and staying sick. Don’t wait a month without seeing an E.N.T. A regular doctor might not give you a correct diagnosis. Your instrument will be exhausted. Your speaking voice will be exhausted. Your entire system will be exhausted. You need to be smart and take care of the illness. An illness that lasts that long is a sign of something bigger. You could be contagious which means you could put other people at risk.
If you are traveling on a plane, take a Claritin three hours before and put a dab of Neosporin on your nostrils to help fight any bacteria in the plane.
The most important relationship that you have as a singer will be with the E.N.T. I listen to mine and if he says, “Try to see if you can get better naturally in a few days. If you don’t, then these are the drugs I recommend.” I will follow his advice. I always have a choice, but sometimes if I am teaching and performing, I will take the drugs to not have the illness linger longer.