If there’s one thing I should be an expert in by now, it’s sore throats. I’ve gotten them on a regular basis for about as long as I can remember, and I’ve tried just about everything out there to try and fix it. The sore throat I’m suffering from now is courtesy of my boyfriend who oh-so-kindly gave me his cold. Thanks, babe. Generosity in a partner is not always a good thing, ladies.
The fact that I’d planned to do a buttload of recording this week just seems ironic now. 9 out of 10 imaginary vocal teachers agree that singing with a sore throat is a massively bad idea, no matter how pretty you might still manage to sound despite it. While I love having an excuse to sit on my couch and watch Netflix instead of doing work, I’ve been lazy enough lately. I’ve declared full-on war with this sore throat and its accompanying cold, and I thought I’d share my sore throat experience with you.
Obligatory disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional, just an annoyed 20-something with an arts degree. This is only what’s worked for me, it may or may not help you.
What didn’t work:
Cold meds. Now, my mother will argue with me on this one. Whenever I have a bad cold, she insists that I stay drugged up in order to keep the symptoms at bay. When it comes to sore throats though, I haven’t found that any medicine really gets rid of that symptom- at least nothing you can get off of a drug store shelf.
Lozenges. Some brands are more useful than others, but I haven’t found that any of them are particularily useful. The effects last for about 2.5 seconds after the lozenge dissolves, and then you’re back to square one again and stuck sucking candies all day like you’re 85.
Drinking more water. While this is rarely a bad idea, I never found that it helped with this particular ailment. If your sore throat is caused by dehydration, then this will patch you up nicely- but my sore throats have a tendancy to be more complicated than that. Water doesn’t coat your throat, or deliver any extra ingredients to help with the pain and scratchiness. I always opted for ice cold smoothies, with yoghurt, rather than water, since the yoghurt coated my throat and felt smoother going down- though in the end, milk products just increase mucus production, which only prolonged things for me.
What did work: Tea with licorice root.
I discovered this last year, when I was doing a lot of practice and recording and my throat just kept getting in the way of my schedule. It wasn’t sore necessarily, but it wasn’t clear either, despite the fact that I didn’t have a cold or any other symptoms. I stumbled on the cure for it when I went on a tea shopping binge. I’m not always a tea person. I go through phases of drinking a lot, and then I forget about tea for months. I think my current stash is probably the way it is for the same reason that I have 34 lipglosses in my bathroom drawer, some of them not even unwrapped yet: marketing hype. I need to have all of the flavours because one or two or five is not enough.
Anyway. My shopping habits are a whole other post. I came home with, among other things, a licorice root tea, mixed with chamomile and peppermint. It looks very pretty with the chamomile buds and berries, but the licorice aftertaste? Well, it’s not something I’d drink if I wasn’t sick. It’s not gross, and some people even like it, but it’s more practical than it is delicious.
I’ve found that the tea clears my throat, makes it silky smooth, and that feeling lasts longer than the cup of tea itself. It still doesn’t cure me, per se, but it means I can sing for a few hours and my throat doesn’t seem to suffer for it. I’m pretty sure it’s the licorice in it, since regular chamomile teas don’t give the same effect. Now, I tend to drink it any time I’m going to be singing for awhile, just to clear and coat my throat, and it hasn’t disappointed me yet. The exact brand I use is David’s Tea Bravissimo, (click for reviews on Steepster!), but I’m pretty sure any regular grocery store licorice tea would do- and be a little easier on your wallet.
Are there any other chronic sore throat sufferers out there? Feel free to add your tips in the comments!