The Ear, Nose, Throat doctor I visited last week gifted me with a brochure about the care of the Singing Voice. I have been asked several times if I can recommend any product or technique to help a singer just before a performance who is experiencing congestion of one type or another. This brochure has three suggestions along these lines, so I will pass them along here.
1. To soothe a dry irritated throat make a gargle from 1/2 tsp. of salt, 1/2 tsp of baking soda, 1/2 tsp of clear corn syrup (I’m thinking they probably mean something like Karo syrup) added to 6 ounces of WARM distilled water. Gargle quietly and gently for two long minutes. Do not rinse. Use as often as necessary.
2. If thick mucus is causing you to clear your throat, or cough in an effort to clear you throat — don’t do it! Instead, take a deep breath, hold it for a moment then expel the air with a sharp, silent “H” sound. (actually I have tried this one and it works)
3. For post nasal drip secretions they recommend over-the-counter Mucinex with LOTS of water.
The brochure warns against frequent use of antihistamines because they tend to cause dryness.
An OTC exception is Nasalcrom and as well as prescription nasal steroid sprays (Aventis, Nasonex and Veramyst). The brochure particularly warns against Astelin nose spray.
I am looking forward to working with the Vocal Coach starting the end of next month. I’ll try to keep passing on suggestions for improved vocal health as I learn about them.