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Singing with Allergies: How to Cope

If you are a sickly Victorian child like I am, the months of March through May are borderline unbearable without allergy medicine. And sometimes even taking an allergy pill regularly is not enough to keep the snot and watery eyes and sore throat at bay. These months are even more trying for singers, as allergies affect our throats, which are crucial to singers.

As singers, if we don't take allergy medicine, not only are made into a miserable snotty mess, but our voice tends sounds congested and thick. But if we take allergy medication, it dries out your vocal cords, which leads to vocal fatigue and (again) a change in the quality of your sound. However, there are ways to alleviate this catch 22 through small daily changes. These are some tips I picked up from my wonderful vocal coach renato estacio that will hopefully make the spring season a little easier on your voice.

Switch your allergy medicine to Claritin (its generic form works just as well).

This medication is a little less drying to your vocal chords than some of the other ones on the market. In the same vein, avoid Benadryl and its generics if at all possible, as it is extremely drying to the cords..

Sleep in a room with the proper humidity levels

This will help relieve the dryness caused by allergy medicine as well as help with congestion.

Drink Pedialyte or other similar electrolyte drinks

Hydration is key to vocal health, and Pedialyte has the added benefits of salts and potassium that help to replenish essential nutrients and alleviate any dehydration quicker.

Drink PH balanced water

Again, hydration is the key to vocal health, but drinking water that is alkaline can have benefits for singers in that it is easier on the throat.

Sing on an "ooo" vowel

Singing on an ooo vowel puts less stress on your vocal chords, which will help dramatically when your chords are already under stress from allergies and medications.

These are just a few small things that can help get you through allergy season. Keep these in mind as you enjoy the spring flowers!

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