Tips for Singing with Allergies: How Do You Cope?

Singing with allergiesSpring is in full swing now, and for many, allergy season came right along with it.  Allergies can wreak havoc on your tone, breathing and vocal cord strength – and just like you should take special care when singing with a cold, taking extra precautions if you have allergies is just as vital.

Allergy symptoms can vary person to person, but common woes include itchy, puffy eyes, sinus issues, a scratchy throat, and an itchy upper palate (roof of your mouth).  If you suffer from severe allergies, it’s best to go to an allergy specialist to help you combat the symptoms (make sure to mention that you’re a singer).  But even if your symptoms aren’t severe, they can still be frustrating when you need to practice or if you have a performance coming up.

So what’s a singer to do?  Here are a few great tips from that may help:

Take Medicine
If you are having trouble with your allergies, or perceive that you will have trouble with allergies in the future, be proactive! Start taking allergy medicine as soon as you feel an attack coming along.  Allergy medicines dry up your sinuses, allowing you to sing without have to worry about mucous covering your vocal cords and hindering you from singing to your full potential.

Precautionary Warning: Drink plenty of water after taking the medicine. Not drinking water after taking allergy medicine can be just as bad as singing with allergies. If you find that medicine dries you out too much, you may want to forgo the medicine route and use a more organic medicinal approach to relieving allergies, such as taking Vitamin C pills.

Drink Herbal Teas
Herbal teas have a wonderful way of clearing out your throat of any excess mucous. Add a touch of honey to your favorite herbal tea to enhance the experience. Teas can soothe your vocal cords and allow you to approach singing without a fear of cracking or breaking.

Take A Shower
If all else fails, take a long and hot shower. This will get your sinuses flowing and hopefully release all the excess drainage from your system. Drink some water after the shower (or even your favorite herbal tea) to remove any leftover drainage on your vocal cords.

Proper training and breathing exercises can also help, so don’t be afraid to speak with your voice teacher to get additional ideas! Of course, if you’re really feeling the strain, take a day off. The voice is an incredibly delicate instrument, and unnecessary stress may cause problems that will follow you for the rest of your life.  As the saying goes, it’s much better to be safe than sorry.

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Photo by Mr. T in DC.

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