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What singers do when they feel a virus coming on

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judyrodman
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I would love to discuss the different, sometimes quirky things singers have done to successfully ward off an impending viral attack.

OK... me first. I've found the following to be of help:

Soaking in a hot bath with epsom salts

Using a Neti pot for sinus drainage and allergic conditions which make mucus membranes into petri dish

Taking the following supplements:

Airborne

Echinacea Synergy from Metagenics

Airborne

Hepar Sulph Calc homeopathic medicine

The Master Tonic - an old natural remedy (recipe on my website on this page- [http://judyrodman.com/about.htm])

Eating fresh garlic and fresh vegetable juice to get an acid body more alcholine

Ginger tea (steep ginger root, then add lemon juice)

Drinking water with ceyenne and lemon juice added (I call this firewater :)

OK... someone else got a fix?

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Be gentle with myself and rest! Drink lemon juice and boiled water, ginger tea, gargle with sage tea if a sore throat and drink lots of water! Avoid dairy produce and alcohol, spicy food.

A cold is the body's healing mechanism to clear toxicity. It should never be stopped as it will lead to much more serious illness. It usually comes when you've overloaded your system mentally, emotionally and physically. Taking things to 'fight' it or 'stop' it is against your body's natural healing path and echinacea can actually suppress the immune system if too much is taken. You don't catch colds...your body creates them! Flu is something entirely different!

When I get a cold.....I support it! I don't fight it! Yes epsom salt baths are good for relaxing muscles and promoting elimination through the skin. So is skin brushing to keep your lymph energised and moving.

love Hilary

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Eat grapefruit. I don't know why this works; I'm assuming it the Linus Pauling Vitamin C for the common cold idea. Even when I was in Taiwan as a little boy, my mother use to boil oranges when I had a cold. Usually, these traditional treatments had something to it. For example, science finally proved that chicken soup was good for the common cold--because it released some kind of chemicals that helped.

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Chen, thanks so much for the suggestion! I also like using food when at all possible to give my body what it needs. I will now add grapefruit to my arsenal. When I make the chicken soup, I load it up with garlic.

I'm curious and looking forward to hearing about what others have found helpful, because I think it's good to have options (carefully, watching out for allergic reactions or digestion problems with particular remedies) to explore. If we have an important gig to do, an impending virus can be a nightmare, so I think there's a lot to be gained from this discussion.

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Great comments, the singing community is so much smarter these days than we used to be! Judy R, thanks for your caution on individual reactions.

My standbys: 1 Emergen-C packet every hour or 2 (yes thats 1 gram at a time) at first sign of trouble, plus zinc for 48 hrs (caps can be nauseating, lozenges OK, either does the job). Neti pot & salt gargle; steam; hot&sour soup (chicken, garlic, cayenne, & ginger together!), & SLEEP.

Latest info from Voice Foundation conference last spring: Throat Coat tea (slippery elm) DOES have chemistry that appears to help throat cells stay moist & less inflamed; glycerin-based lozenges & sprays make throat feel better but don't provide actual healing as sl.elm seems to.

I did a chapter on colds in my book... prevention is still the best, like washing your hands a lot, staying hopeful, & building good nutrition/fitness/relationships all year.

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Joanna...interesting about the Throat Coat tea! I used to do that; glad to be reminded. And the Emergen-C probably does for you what the Airborne does for me. Sleep... non-negotiable. And I as well have not had much luck with the sprays.

I had a bad bout with laryngitis stemming from a bad cold one a couple of years ago. At the time, I had two full days of sessions, leading a background vocal group. It was out of town and there were too many people involved to reschedule. I tried all the lozenges and sprays anyone there had to no avail, but when I started drinking very dilute pineapple juice at the mic because I was thirsty (about 20% pineapple to 80% water), I found I could sing! I could even get in my head voice! So I drank about 18 giant glasses of that throughout the day and was able to do the sessions.

I agree also that prevention is always the best medicine. As teacher, I make sure that if I touch a student during a lesson, I wash my hands before seeing the next student. Thx !

It was very weird, I had no idea why the pineapple juice worked. It wasn't fresh, it was the Dole cans. Someone has since suggested it might be enzymes in the pineapple that affected my mucous membranes. But it, strangely, did work. Just water did not. Anybody try this?

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For throat irritation, try a simple banana. Find a very ripe(but not fermented) banana. Chew a piece but do not swallow. keep it in your mouth and allow it to release it's oils. The bananas oils will coat and sooth the throat( do not confuse Throat irritation with vocal fold irritation or horseness) I am referring here to other areas of the throat which may become irritate for a varity of reason. Ie your sing and speaking should be intact regardless if not go to an ENT

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OK, I just got a question at my website from someone about singing in a smokey bar. Other than "Don't Do It!", what would anyone suggest? I wonder if Darrison's banana would help. I will tell her about the "firewater" I mentioned and to try and get some fresh air between sets, as well as try and get the club to circulate fresh air better. Argh... the things singers have to do. At least it's better now than it used to be. Walking in Nashville's famous "Tootsie's" before they banned smoking used to be like cutting smoke with a knife... it was so thick, you couldn't even see the far end of the room!

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Judy, I got tons of ideas in my book Raise Your Voice. Email me your address and here in a few weeks when the revised version hits the shelves, I'll send you a copy. But, off the top of my head, if in the past, I felt a cold coming on, I would eat several Calicum capsules and Vitamin C tablets every hour until the sore feelings started to go away. Now, All I do is use X20 every day and I haven't had a cold for almost 2 years now...Well, I had one little cold, when I was out of X20 for a few weeks, but doubled up on my X20 and it was gone in a few days and it never really turned into anything major;)

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OK, I just got a question at my website from someone about singing in a smokey bar. Other than "Don't Do It!", what would anyone suggest? I wonder if Darrison's banana would help. I will tell her about the "firewater" I mentioned and to try and get some fresh air between sets, as well as try and get the club to circulate fresh air better. Argh... the things singers have to do. At least it's better now than it used to be. Walking in Nashville's famous "Tootsie's" before they banned smoking used to be like cutting smoke with a knife... it was so thick, you couldn't even see the far end of the room!

LOL Judy you got the wrong one on that lol, I guess you wouldn't know since your new, but I am a smoker for over twenty years both cigers and cigarettes. At my height I would smoke a carton in a 12 hour recording session. I averaged about two packs a day most of my life since the age of 15. (I'm working on quitting) not because of my voice. Just for my health. I'm down to about a pack a day. Until the recent generation almost a third of the males at the met smoked either cigarettes or cigars. I think it's just a shock to the voices of non-smokers. Maestro Kyle smoke until he was 78( old golds) Maestro Rosati smoked and actually used to encourage his students to smoke cigars (Lanza, Gigli, Peirce etc.) Gigli voice was crystal clear, Lanza too! But I don't think it's the greatest for your health( which is why I'm cutting down) I would like to just bring it to the point of an occassional cigar on the weekend. Now the chemical smoke from smoke machines, that can annoy me!

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Just saw on TV news-- research has shown that heated fruit juices can reduce colds and flus! I couldn't remember whether it said only apple juice; my recollection is all juices. Anyhow, this further supports my mom's traditional remedy of heated oranges, Linus Pauling on Vitamin C, and my experience with grapefruit.

I've usually had good experience with Theraflu, the heated flu medicine drink. If one reads the active ingridents, it's no different than the active ingridients in a cold/flu capsule. But, something with a heated drink and a citrus taste yields better results.

Little do we know about how the body and viruses really work.

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Haha... Darrison, I just love your candor. It was my drug of choice, too.

Yes, I think you have a point... we are no longer used to the effects of smoke like we were in the old days when it was all around us. I used to smoke, too, as did most of the professional musicians and singers I worked with in the studios of Memphis and Nashville.

I knew legendary bass session singers, such as Louis Nunley of Anita Curr fame, who were afraid to quit because it affected their "lows". Man, that's something isn't it... the choice is healthy life or lower range! Argh.

The atmosphere has "cleared up" immeasurably now, with the clubs and even "Waffle House" banning smoking! We are not used to it anymore, and will probably live longer and healthier lives because of our increased sensitivity to it. Probably the best advice for this young singer is ... don't get used to it!! :/:)

Good luck on your cutting way back... I know from experience how hard it is, but I also know it can be done!

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Thanks Judy lol I'm certainly not going to beat myself up about it. All my family and friends smoked most of my life. Now that they have quit I get a beatting everyday lol. I really don't want to quit just keep it to 1/2 a pack a day or less. My life is fairly balance I like some vices lol I eat well, exercise and suppiment. Strangley It all the non smokers I see dying. even at my gym lol this muscle health freak massive on the juicing and vegan thing(god rest his soul) just ran a marathon and had a heart attack at 38. I find even with my smoking I have more stamina then many of the younger guys- they seem to live on burger king, chips and beer lol.

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You know what, there is so much more that goes into health. Your state of mind is obviously conducive to joyous, strong life. A person can approach nutrition from fear of dying, getting sick, etc, and actually bring about a self-fullfilled prophesy, imho.

And perhaps you have the benefit of some great genes, too!

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Yes the men in my family have all done 80 or better and with the exception of one aunt the females all over 90 (my grandmother is 94 my great aunt 96) although most have had health problems of one kind or another we tend to just keep going lol. I adjust as I feel I need, but don't believe age is the factor til 21 I had endless amounts of stamina. When I had cancer surgery I was really out of it for a few years. Then was back to normal until 9/11 where i worked rescue, that has taken awhile to re-coop from. I thiink it's really the depression from truamatic events that really screws with us and our health. the body responds to the mind so it stays healthy when your up and in action, with proper rest in between. When you have truama mentally it throws the balance out and the body follows.

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Wow, I can only imagine what working rescue at 911 would have been like. God bless you for choosing to go into that darkness to help.

When I get to help victims of trauma or mental dysfunction find their voices again, I find it interesting that the vibrations of singing can also turn around and aid healing. I am not a silent sufferer... when I hurt, I moan and it makes me feel better! Many years ago I had a severe health challenge, Crohn's disease, causing me to have to have multiple abdominal surgeries and lots of internal damage. During my three month hospitalization, I was intubated several times, causing me to lose over an octave and a half of vocal range.

Long story short... I got well and began lessons with a vocal coach named Gerald Arthur here in Nashville. A couple of years later I had a #1 record in country, so I learned the incredible value of correct vocal coaching. It's what led me to do what I do now.

I often think of God as the great compost maker. Takes the trauma & crap, if we we turn it over, and makes it fertilizer in other people's lives.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ancora...

My nutritionists have all recommended ceyenne pepper! Actually, red pepper is one of the healing herbs. If you had an ulcer, a blended drink of fresh cabbage juice and ceyenne pepper can heal it... in fact, you notice the difference with the first glass. It's not tasty, however :) I would say, notice how those foods make your stomach feel. I think most anything that causes your nose to run (except a cold!) is good for you!

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  • 2 months later...

I started taking MSM powder about six months ago and haven't had a cold since! This is very unusual for me, as I have M.E. and have caught colds with alarming and boring regularity for the last ten years. The MSM has also put paid to the awful joint pains and recurring headaches that I used to get. I have tons of energy and am sniffle-free :-) I'm told (although this is only anecdotal) that it also has a good effect on hay fever. If you try it, make sure you get it through a reputable supplier. The purest stuff sinks to the bottom of a glass of water, whilst the less pure stuff floats in the water. Of course, most suppliers claim that their product is 99.9% pure!

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The common cold is just a self limiting viral disease. There are so many different kinds that it means you are just going to get them. There is nothing magic about them. Just keep up fluids and use anything that you find gives you symptom relief.

Alot of people mentioned vitamin C. Bear in mind that there is little evidence that using vitamin C prevents colds. There have been systematic reviews (the most reliable form of evidence we have available) that state that vitamin c at certain doses have no preventative action. It has been suggested that it's use can shorten the length of a cold but not to a degree that makes it clinically significant. I'll try and dig out the review.....

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A long time ago a doctor told me that most illness has an acid component and was related to digestion, and that the first thing to do is take bicarb and water. I always do this. Then I pop occillococcinum, a homeopathic remedy available everywhere and which I keep with me at all times. If you start to feel a bit off, you can sometimes completely shut down the process but it is important that you nip it in the bud.

Knock wood, I have not been sick for a very long time. I also take 6 drops a day of Jim Humble's MMS. You can google it. Tastes indescribably bad and is known in our crowd as swimming pool juice. Well worth the bother.

Oh, and drink lots of water! 2 quarts a day. (boring and effective.)Cheers. I hope this helps some of you. RP

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