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Advice for optimal vocal health during winter

<strong>Avoid intensive winter sports unless you cover your neck or head</strong> Though this tip seems obvious, not everyone knows that a prolonged and intensive outdoor effort, like running or cycling, particularly during windy and cold temperatures, can have a bad effect on your fragile vocal cords. That being said, moderate to intensive physical activity is extremely favourable for any singer, and any individual, of course! <strong>Extreme Hydration</strong> All year long, and also during winter, drinking water throughout the day is essential. With electric home heating, the air can become dry. In order to compensate for this fact, drinking 1.5 to 2 liters per day is strongly recommended. Avoiding sweetened and caffeinated drinks, which could dry up your mouth and mucus membranes. You could opt for hot beverages such as herb infusions; a thyme infusion has, for example, antiseptic virtues.

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<strong>In case of a cold, choose homemade inhalations</strong> Nasal sprays can contain medication that may cause dependency. Salty solution sprays are a better option since they are not addictive. Another way to relieve cold symptoms is to inhale the steam from previously boiled water in a Pyrex bowl, with a towel over your head. The steam can be very hot at first, so make sure you keep a little opening, to avoid hurting yourself. You will see how very effective and soothing this remedy proves to be. Personally, I like to alternate nose-inhalation, mouth-expiration, and vice versa. Give yourself a chance to experience it, while listening to the signs of your body. Some people told me about adding essential oils (Tea tree, lemon oil) in the water, but I wouldn’t recommend it, since those oils can “stick” to your sensitive nasal membrane. <strong>Nose cleaning – for the highly motivated!</strong> Since singing requires free and clear respiratory tracts, an ancestral yogi technique –nasal cleaning – is very interesting. A teapot shaped instrument called lota can be used. Filled up with sea salt body-temperature water, apply the lota tip on one of the two nostril entries. While keeping your mouth opened, gently pour the salted water through the nostril, so it can emerge from the other nostril after cleaning your sinus. Repeat these steps for the other side, then gently blow your nose with your head tilted forward. This technique can be very effective when you have a cold, to ease nasal congestion. For sore throats or mucus, a simple hot decoction of freshly grated ginger can be divine! Add a spoonful of honey and some lemon. Ginger has anti-mucosity properties (and much more!). You can also alternate with hot water, which help could calm a sore throat. So, the watchword would be: water, always more water! <strong>But Remember:</strong> These tips are given as a recommendation and should not replace medical advice that you should get from you doctor. You must see a doctor if you are concerned about your healt.