For some years I worked in corporate America (for health insurance) while raising my two children. One of the side effects of that life was the exposure to chilly A/C and the ills of the dozens of coworkers in the confined offices and meetings. I was singing on the side (I prefer to say I was singing and "working" on the side...), but was constantly plagued with colds, bronchitis, laryngitis and throat infections. I have not experienced a cold of that magnitude or even laryngitis until now, as it's going around my family. A throat specialist also revealed to me that I have GERD which was wreaking havoc on my pipes. I now have that under control and left the office gig a little over 2 years ago. I had 2 shows this weekend, one on Friday at Jazziz in Hollywood, Florida and one outdoors in windy 58 degree weather in Miami Lakes, Florida last night (Saturday). I wrapped my throat up in a scarf and drank my warm tea with honey and lemon and Friday went fine, but Saturday I was concerned because I had a coughing fit and THAT is what will do a voice in. So I called several friends who are singers to see if anyone was available that could share the stage with me to save my voice. I called good friends Dana Paul, Wendy Pedersen, Greg Diaz and Jeff Taylor and none was available. Then Jeff suggested Nikki Yarling who also lives here, but it was already getting so close to showtime that she probably wouldn't be able to make it in time for the hour-and 1/2 concert even if by some miracle she was available, and at least I could still talk. Well, some of us singers find that you sing from a different place than you talk, although we should probably always use the "singing" placement 'round the clock. I gargled with salt & baking soda in warm water, took ibuprofin and Benadryl, did a mild "brrrrrrr" type warm up, afraid to do anything more, and after the first raspy sounds, began to feel my voice come through, with help from adrenaline. The band did their incredible job with some extended solos and I sang with a bit of a nasal quality that is not necessarily a negative, and all was well. Whew!! Today I am medicating that cough, resting my voice completely and eating chicken soup.

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Comment by Debbie Orta on May 18, 2009 at 6:17am
Great stuff Joani! I will keep this handy and try them as needed.
Comment by Joani Taylor on May 9, 2009 at 1:19am
ok I know I'm pretty late for a reply here but with many many years of every possible situation I do have a couple of suggestions especially as we all know anything can happen and it usually does.
First watch the stress always. I know that it goes without saying.
Lots of rest. Songs in the right keys, proper monitors on stage.
OK after all that.
The best things for us is ....
1. Don't talk! Just sing
2. A great chinese remedy.... also very good for a fever
Get Fresh Ginger Root a nice big big piece
you can leave the skin on or peel it. It really doesn't matter.
Slice the Ginger and put it in a large sauce pan
Fill 3/4 full with water. you can fill it less if you have a smaller piece of Ginger
Bring it to a rolling Boil
steep for about 15 to 20 minutes
ADD LOTS of brown sugar ( you may use Demerara or even honey) I use Brown
sugar
The ampount of sugar and everything is really to your taste.
This tea should be strong enough to heat your whole body and you feel the sweet gingery warmth on your throat.
Please refrigerate what's left and use as needed and it should be used up within a day or two then make some more.
Of course you have to like the taste of ginger.

I hope what I wrote makes sense and I didn't confuse you.

There's something else that's really good and it's for prevention of germs through the nasal passages. I don't have allergy's yet but my husband does. I use this product when my students have colds or there's something going around or if I feel like I'm getting something .
This product is a nasal spray sort of like the nasal wash but we getit at our Whole Foods store
It's called........" xclear" the applicator say's Nasal Wash with Xylitol
it contains purified water, xylitol, Saline,and grapefruitseed extract.

OK so I'm on a roll here and there's one more thing no 2 more things whew!

Liquid Oxygen at whole foods also
Just 4 I repeat not 10 but 4 drops in 8 ounces of water not anything but water
because it will taste wierd and it's just Damn Good for your health and energy.

THe other tip my doctor told me a couple years ago and I love it.
B 12 Shots yup! B 12 SHOTS The Doc. gave me my own little supply and I take it on the road when i'm doing a few or several performances in a row it just gives me great energy. This is not speed or anything risky though you have to talk with yourown Dr. Mine has given these shots to Rock Performers who come into Vancouver on tour and it's more help the day after you expend a lot of energy.
I love it! For real!
Ha! did I mention that Red Bull is my sponser?
Well that's it those are the things that work for my friends and myself. Not all at
once but when necessary.
Cheers and good health and break a leg to all.
The doctor is out.
Comment by Irene on November 25, 2008 at 8:17pm
Hi Peggie,

I concur with Debbie about the nasal irrigation. My Ear, Nose and Throat doctor (who specializes in treating singers) told me to use "Sinus Rinse" made by NeilMed and is available at most drug stores. It's a saline rinse for the nose and sinuses. It comes with a squeeze bottle and works great. Another thing to take when you are congested is Mucinex also recommended by my doctor. Both have saved my voice on many an occasion.
And by the way, have a happy Thanksgiving.
Comment by Debbie Orta on November 25, 2008 at 7:25am
Hi Peggie - Thanks for the well-wishes! Btw, have you ever done (what I call a "nose douche") nasal irrigation? It clears the nasal passages and throat of mucus. (Pretty disgusting conversation, but you know, we singers have to deal with mucus all the time...). Check with your throat doctor about this: 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/4 tsp salt dissolved in about 1 cup warm water. Keep tissues handy. Use an ear syringe to suck up some of this solution. Take a breath (so you can only breathe out and not drown yourself!), put your head back, hold your breath, and gently squirt a bit into your nostrils and let it flow down into your throat, gargle, spit it out and gently blow it out of your nose (kind of messy). Once is usually enough, then just gargle with the rest of the cup if needed. Never use too much salt because it will irritate your tissues. When done right, it cleanses and warms and feels great right before vocalizing. When done wrong, it burns and makes you sore! Bad! I always follow by sipping room temperature water all the way to the gig to hydrate. I have hay fever and this helps with the runny nose. You should gargle a bit of the saline solution first to make sure it's not too salty or hot. Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours!
Comment by Peggie Perkins on November 24, 2008 at 11:21pm
Boy oh boy have I been there! I too miraculously always sail through it because we do use a different part of our voice to sing then to talk! I am so glad you got through your show and I want to wish you continued rest and recovery and a happy Thanksgivibg!
Peggie Perkins

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