How to Sing With a Cold


Five all natural remedies to help you keep on singing, even if you’re blocked up and have a sore throat.

Colds, phlegm and mucus are annoying at best when it comes to the world of singing. At worst, they can prevent you from singing at all or make you sound nasal and make your voice crack. There’s a whole lot of badness involved when it comes to battling with these nasties but sometimes you still have to sing even if you’re struggling with the big lurgy.

So what can you do about it? If you suffer from a blocked nose, sinusitis, excess phlegm or you have to keep coughing when you’re singing, then today’s video is for you.

I give you 5 all natural remedies to help you clear up phlegm, and keep singing even if you have a cold.

Nicola x

1. Steam With Eucalyptus Oil

I bet your Grandmother used to tell you about this old time remedy. Well, she was right! It still works a treat. Simply fill a pot with boiling water from the kettle, place a towel over your head and lean over the steam breathing in through your nose and mouth.

Super charge it by adding three drops of Eucalyptus Oil to the water. Don’t add too much though otherwise the vapour will sting your eyes and make sure you don’t put your face too close to the steam otherwise you’ll burn yourself.

Then breathe in the goodness.

Here’s a video on how to steam where I walk you through the process.

2. Use A Nasal Rinse

Some people might say ‘OMG I’m not doing that’ but if you suffer from a blocked nose, have cold, or post nasal drip, or frequently get sinusitis like I do then this will help you so much.

You don’t need to get fancy with it. I use a kit that I got from the pharmacy which cost a tiny $12 . You usually get a soft plastic bottle and some satchets containing a solution that prepares the water so it doesn’t hurt when it goes up your nose. Make sure you only use pre-boiled or purified water to fill up the bottle so there are no nasty bacterial lurking in the water.

Once you have filled up your bottle and popped in the solution, I like to zap it in the microwave for around 8 seconds to make it warmer. Then bending over the sink, you basically stick the bottle’s nozzle into one nostril and squeeze. The water will go up into your nasal cavity and come back out the other nostril… often bringing gunk with it. Totally gross… but works a treat.

I do this regularly during spring because I suffer from such bad sinusitis. If you have a cold then do it twice daily leading up to a performance. Once in the morning before you wake up, once in the evening before you go to bed and you will notice a difference.

3. Increase Your Fluids

Whether you’re someone who drinks enough water daily or not, its a good idea to increase your fluid intake when you’re trying to get your voice back in shape for singing.

Taking a big gulp of water can do wonders for your voice regardless of if you’re sick but its even more important, especially if you’re starting to vocalise and get back into your practice and you can still feel a bit of a sore throat going on.

Many professional singers are known to drink (a shit load) of water inbetween each take during a recording sesh so make sure you’re getting more that your 8 glasses a day.

I also like drinking Green Tea (Matcha) or while I’m singing I go for Peppermint or Licorice Root Tea which soothes a sore throat. If I have to do a gig and I have a sore throat, I take a flask of Licorice Root Tea with me and sip it inbetween songs.

More reading: Best and Worst Drinks for Singers

4. Drink Olive Leaf Extract

My number one go-to for boosting my immunity when I feel I either have a cold coming on is Olive Leaf Extract. It reduces the severity of a cold if you take it when you feel like your cold is about to start. (Then keep taking it during your cold)

You can’t take it continuously because after a while your body gets used to it and it loses its efficacy, but if taken only when needed for a couple of weeks Olive Leaf Extract really helps. Unfortunately, it doesn’t taste very nice. It’s bitter like a raw olive. 

Also, if you’re not allergic to bees try Propolis. Gargle with it to reduce a sore throat and you can drink it afterwards. It smells absolutely foul but it works wonders.

5. Stretch and Vocalise

Once you feel your cold lifting and you’re ready to start singing again, remember to prep your body for singing first and do some stretches. If you’ve been in bed for longer than usual your muscle will most likely have become tight so stretch out your rib cage and muscles surrounding your diaphragm.

Then begin to softly hum. Don’t increase your volume too much at this stage, just lightly hum along to your favourite songs, sipping herbal tea or water to keep your throat hydrated.

Stop if you feel pain and give yourself time to rest, but if you feel ok keep on singing until you feel your voice fatiguing. Don’t push yourself too hard at this stage and give yourself a good few practice sessions to allow your voice to get back to its former glory. 

Two Weirdly Wonderful Natural Remedies For Singing With A Cold

1. Use Eucalyptus Oil on the soles of your feet

This is a weird one, ever weirder than the nasal rinsing. Put Eucalyptus oil on the soles of your feet and cover them with socks before you go to sleep. The soles of your feet absorb oil and it will help you to breathe easier and keep your nose clear. It seriously works. 

Sometimes you can even taste the Eucalyptus Oil in your mouth, even if you’ve just put it on your feet. It’s bizzare, and yet… so refreshing.

You can also use Tiger Balm or Vics Vapour Rub if you need to.


2. Steer clear of antibiotics 

Antibiotics disrupt the natural balance of bacteria in your gut and as a result you can make your body more susceptible to bad bacteria; making your body fight it off which means more phlegm and sore throats. If you have to take an antibiotic, make sure you take a good quality probiotic later in the day.

TIP: Don’t take them at the same time because the antibiotic will just kill all the good bacteria. So if you take the antibiotic in the morning, take the probiotic in the evening.)

I recommend taking a probiotic daily to keep your gut health in tip top condition.

More reading: Home Remedies To Help You Sing Better

Five Surprising Benefits Of Singing



Now I’d love to hear from you.

Do you have any natural remedies you can add to this list? If you do, please let me know in the comments below. 

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