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Sore throat / Cold Just Before Tour!

AdrianDAdrianD Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 87
Hey guys!

About 4 days ago I came down with a nasty sore throat.  Hurts to swallow, little bit of mucous too.  I think it's more of a throat swelling problem because when I clear my throat there seems to be nothing to clear.
I have a loss of upper mid - head voice range (most of my bands singing material lies within this range.) I am going on a small tour this Friday, doing close to 13 shows in a row.  Any suggestions on what I can do to help recover quickly?

A couple things I picked up on from other threads:

-sing exercises lightly
-good rest
-long hot showers
-drink lots of water
-ibuprofen before show (not every day)
-marshmallow gum tea (for mucous)

Any advice would be appreciated!

Adrian

Comments

  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro Posts: 15,079
    edited February 2015

    Tea Tree oil can help to breathe the vapors.  It's available at most health food stores. That's to relieve congestion.

    The things you listed above will help to reduce swelling.

    As you said, you can also take ibuprofen to reduce swelling.  It's not a good idea to rely on that, but in a pinch, it can help.  Long-term, it's not a good choice. If it's hurting to swallow, you should definitely be seen by a doctor.  They may be able to help you medicinally. 

    Drink lots of water.  I like to go with lots of home-made chicken soup if I'm ill. 

    If your voice is not working with the light singing, then take a vocal rest until your tour.  If you are OK doing the light exercising, then keep it light until your shows unless you see that you are starting to recover.  If you are still ill, you may have to be very careful and sing lightly during the shows.  Use tons of support to protect your throat from oversinging, especially while you are experiencing the loss of your upper mids.

    Here's wishing you a speedy recovery, @AdrianD!

    Bob

  • AdrianDAdrianD Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 87
    @highmtn

    Thanks for the info Bob! I'll probably go see a doctor tomorrow and I'll pick up some tea tree oil.  Worst comes to worst I'll make some melodies in my lower register to fit the song for now.

    Thanks!
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro Posts: 15,079
    edited February 2015

    When your voice starts to bounce back, use plenty of support.  It's better to sing through an illness, as long as you aren't aggravating something like laryngitis.  Laryngitis and/or respiratory infections require vocal rest.  Light singing through most other ailments, including sore throat without laryngitis will help you to fully recover vocally much sooner.  

    Just be aware of safeguarding against oversinging. 

    I had a cold this weekend and had a box of tissues on the bandstand.  Although I was wary that it could cause me problems, instead it was one of my best singing weekends ever.  My upper midvoice was in great shape.  I've had very little in the way of setbacks this entire fall/winter illness season, doing gigs the entire time.  I think I've overblown my cords a couple of times, earlier in the fall, but now I feel that I've got my compression dialed-in and can better control my support reliably.  I've found that fine line that my vocal cords seem to like.  That's really been saving my voice.  Doing my exercises faithfully has been an important part of that equation.  Your voice depends upon being in shape when gig days come about.

    Colds, sore throats, tough gigs with bad monitor mixes come and go.  The voice finds its equilibrium and does what it's been trained to do, and makes the best of it.


    Bob

  • AdrianDAdrianD Pro, 2.0 PRO Posts: 87
    @highmtn

    Thats great to hear you pushed through it!  What do you mean when you say you "overblew" your cords?

    I too have been doing my vocal exercises consistently (anywhere from 5-7 days a week) so I think that should aid me.  My throat has been getting better each day.  I went to see a doctor and he said it wasn't strep throat so that's good.  I think I'll have to really pay attention to my voice while singing with a cold to find that "fine line" it is receptive to like you mentioned.  I'll pay even more attention to my support this next couple weeks.  13 shows will be the most I've done in a row so far, let alone with a cold. Looking forward to the challenge!

    Adrian
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro Posts: 15,079

    @AdrianD,

    If you don't use sufficient support, you can use too much air or too much air pressure on your cords and cause them to swell.  This will cause you to lose some of your upper midrange voice, near the passagio.  I call it overblowing, because you are simply singing too loud and irritating your vocal cords.  When the swelling goes down, you get the notes back, but if you keep aggravating the cords by oversinging, you will irritate the cords again.

    Good support can reduce the wear and tear on the cords.  Even more so, using glottal compression to cut back the air (non-distorted, clean vocals) can reduce that wear and tear more effectively.  That will help to prevent hoarseness or loss of notes from irritation of the cords.

    Bob

  • rcrosierrcrosier Pro Posts: 275
    Ugh... cough and cold again... I can't wait for spring and summer... even though I know it's not supposed to cause colds, I'm tired of snow... :)

  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro Posts: 15,079

    @rcrosier...

    Don't JINX me!!!  This has been the BEST winter I've ever gone through, vocally!  My voice has been hanging in there like a strong tower, night after night.

    If I have any problems from this point on, I will hold you personally responsible!

    Just kidding.  I'm sorry you're having another bout.  Really getting your voice as buff as possible IS a saving grace, however.  When your voice is really strong, even when you're weakened by illness, your reduced vocal capacity can often pull you through, due to the strength and resilience you have built-in to your voice.  A lot of Ken's videos from a couple of years ago were done while he had a case of pneumonia that took a long time to shake off.  Vocally, he did his Freddie Mercury tribute and other phenomenal tunes during a six-month illness.  His vocal strength held out throughout. 

    Get well soon, my friend, and here's hoping for the snow to make way for a pollen-free spring!

    Bob

  • rcrosierrcrosier Pro Posts: 275
    @Highmtn:  Hahaha... I said the same thing LAST winter...  I had a great year last year... not so lucky THIS winter...
  • rcrosierrcrosier Pro Posts: 275
    So why is it that your desire to practice and sing increases with your lack of ability to sing or practice?  :(
  • highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro Posts: 15,079
    Because you want things that you can't have more than you want things that you can have, because you already can have them, so you don't need to want them as much as the things that you can't have.
  • rcrosierrcrosier Pro Posts: 275
    Ahhhhh, thank you Sensei!!
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