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Singing through a Cold / Sinus's and preventative measures before hand

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Hi everyone,

A lot of my material I do with my original band, demands a certain power (lots of support - which I'm still building), to successfully pull off many of our songs.

The issue I have, is that I am plagued with colds constintly and have issues with allergies (sinus's) all the time.

I found using ColdFX and generally trying to stay healthy with food intake and watching the citus, dairy, etc.. helps, but when it comes to those songs we do - I just can't get to the pitch / tone I need (always off a note of two and feel like I am pushing hard to achieve just that)..

Any tips on what to do before and during a live performance and how to sing through the songs..

For an understanding of the power I am referring to - think Shinedown doing Simple Man and any of their material really (don't sound like Brent from them, but same style)..

Forgot to add, that I do my warm ups (vocal exercises, and the such (which my range is cut there as well, since I can't get to the top while doing them).. before hand..

When I am 100% good, I nail the performances every single time...



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Newer evidence tends to debunk the milk equals more phlegm unless you are already lactose intolerant. I am not lactose intolerant but ever since I switched to zero fat milk and quit eating ice cream (which has fat in it,) I don't get indigestion. I still get phlegm from allergies, a side effect of living in Texas.

So, if you heard me in the car on the way home singing:

"I get so lonely

When I am without you.

But in my mind, deep in my mind,

I can't forget about you, no ..."

Achhht, ptui! out the open window.

"Good times.

Places that remind me, yeah.

I'm trying forget your name

And leave all behind me .....


ahem (throat clearing)

I'm taking my time

Just moving along.

You'll forget about me after I've been gone.

Well, I take what I find

I don't want no more.

It's just outside of your front door.

I said, hell, yeah.

It's been such a long time.

It's been scuh a long time."

Minor throat clear, sip of soda. (You've got to manage the breaks, see?)

Life goes on.

The lyrics above are me singing along with Brad in the original key. In the fast lane, doing about 70 mph. That's just so wrong ....

Anyway, allergies, I don't know what to tell you. Colds, I usually swig straight from a bottle of Dayquil (non-drowsy.) And, with colds, I don't do much singing. No use building myself bad habits from failing breath support if it's a chest cold or off-kilter resonating if it's a head cold.

I guess I wasn't that much help, after all.

My wife some times takes mucinex, but it seems to induce coughing, which may relieve congestion but is disruptive to singing.

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Constantly having colds is often a hygiene issue.

People get sick, feel better, and then come into contact

with the same germs again (which makes them sick again).

If you are sneezing in bed a lot, wash your bed sheets immediately.

Otherwise, you're sleeping in a cesspool of germs that will keep making your sick.

Also, I would say the most important thing is to wash your hands constantly.

The hands are one of the primary ways people come into contact with germs.

It's one of the reasons why I don't get sick from germs at work (while the rest of

my co-workers are sick all the time).

Whenever you come back home, make sure the first thing you

do is wash your hands. That will prevent you from spreading germs that you collected

from work and on the way back home. Basically, anytime you go outside for a while

and come back indoors, you need to wash your hands.

Also, clean your work/office/study area periodically. I like to use rubbing alcohol and cotton balls.

Cotton balls absorb alcohol very well and distributes it evenly (instead of using it

all up in the first few wipes). I know this might sound excessive, but faucets and door knobs

are among the nastiest bacteria filled places at home/work/public areas. So you might want to wipe them clean occasionally (I'd say once a week is fine) using cotton balls and rubbing alcohol. They are places that people touch with their dirty hands and NEVER clean.

A study said that office desks usually have 400 times the amount bacteria of toilets.

Lastly, when you wash your hands, SCRUB your hands thoroughly (and even between your fingers). Some people just dash soap and sprinkle some water on their hands. That drives me nuts. It's the hard scrubbing that removes germs. Just lightly dashing water and soap on your hands will hardly kill anything.

For cleaning floors, if possible, I would suggest using a steam mop. The steam really gets in there and

kills lots of germs.

So basically, the plan of action is:

Wash your hands constantly.

Clean your work area.

Clean any faucets and door knobs that you often use. (a trick some people do in public bathrooms is to grab a paper towel and then use it to touch the faucet).

I know this may sound excessive, but I'd say 50% of the men I see in public bathroom don't even wash their hands. And many of the others don't wash their hands properly (scrubbing vigorous around and between your fingers). That's almost as bad as not washing your hands.

Some other dirty things:

Your credit/ATM card

The dust sitting on top of the blades of your ceiling (often causes allergies and sinus problems)

Salt and pepper shakers

Light switches (no one EVER cleans them)

6 dirtiest areas in the workplace (dirty enough to spread serious illness):

break room sink faucet handles

microwave door handles

computer keyboards

refrigerator door handles

water fountain buttons

vending machine buttons

Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2012/05/24/the-6-dirtiest-places-in-the-office/#ixzz2GDhKLVEy

Finally, make sure to open your window and get some fresh air into your room at least once a day.

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Chamcham has a good point. I have had my job as company manager for a company that specializes in electrical work for swimming pools and outdoor living environments since December 2010. In a day, I only meet with our work crews in the morning for 10 minutes at a time to gather and give information while they re-stock their work trucks from the materials in our warehouse. Otherwise, it's just me and one of the owners and he leaves around noon to take care of his other appointments.

So, my exposure to the contagion carried by the humanity of the greater D-FW metroplex (Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas) is limited. As of consequence, knocking on pressed particle wood, I have not had a respiratory infection in that time. Just allergies. And that's what rolling down the window is for. (Ahhcct tui!) (Classy, I know.)

I am still not helping, even more.

I just sing through my allergies. Good or bad.

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Thanks guys.. but Hygien is top notch... issue is, I work in a highschool, so everything those students get.. I'm exposed to.. My wife is a kindergarten teacher.. so she is exposed to different stuff, My oldest is in a different school and in kindergarten there.. so more stuff.. my middle is in daycare... even more.. and my youngest is about to go to daycare... so i'm screwed.. lol..

So, yeah.. Hygen isn't an issue, as I wash more then a doctor, and even throw out my tooth brush when I'm not contegious anymore..

But besides that....

I'm only asking how to sing through these things, different experiences, tricks or tips.. type of thing.. i'm 41 years old, so I know about the normal stuff that was listed ... thanks though! I do appreaciate the replies..(Trust me, I'm not trying to be rude here), but I am confused why you thought I needed to be informed about your points, when it has nothing to do with what I was inquiring? Thought this was a singers forum and not a Molly Maid information session... ;-) lol.

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Allergies is an old friend of mine. Basicly warm-up and good hydration takes care of the problem of clearing it up, just make sure the reharsal place is not filled of things that can trigger it.

Real infections, is another deal completely. A cold, if you warm up carefully, should not be a problem but you only should sing in such condition if its a very profitable situation, I rather say dont sing at all, but well, sometimes its necessary. A sinus infection, no way, its too painfull, and will harm your larynx.

Are we really talking about colds, fever, body ache and all that? Or is it just discomfort on the vocal tract? What triggers your allergies?

Depending on the answer to those questions, ask yourself this: When you dont sing for a few days, these problems still show up?

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David, you poor soul, you are working in a petrie dish for every infection that comes along. Bless you and may you find remedies that help.

I've heard that echinacea boosts the immune system. So, you might look at some herbal remedies. If you can ask a local herbal expert, mention to them that you work in a school are are exposed to the contagion of all mankind (because it's true.)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Newer evidence tends to debunk the milk equals more phlegm unless you are already lactose intolerant.

Funny you mention this, because I have always been skeptical of the causing more phlegm claim. I've been a big milk drinker since I was a child and have never really had any ongoing phlegm issues.

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To keep the mucous thin you could try Mucinex-D. You have to drink a lot of water when you take this. I'm not an advocate of taking any pharmaceuticals while singing. If I get a cold my sinuses have a tendency to clog up really fast, so I have to take this stuff.

The other thing I would definitely take is Vocalzones before or during the gig - this is licorice based and really keeps the whole vocal tract in a ideal hydration and seems to disolve the phlem. However, some people with certain heart problems have an issue with licorice. I almost always suck on one of these during a recording session to keep the vocal tract in an ideal state for singing.

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Gino Vannelli (Canadian Singer) once told me the story of when he was asked to sing for the pope - televised live at the Vatican. A couple days before the performance he came down with a cold / flu and the morning of the performance he couldn't even talk. Everything was swelled up. One option that was given to him was having doctors inject cortizone directly into his larynx. This had some risk, but the opportunity was a once in a lifetime thing so he decided to go ahead with it. He was nervous that he might blow it somehow, crack, etc. If you watch the performance you'll see that he made it through just fine. It wasn't his best performance, but pretty good considering.

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