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Keep Allergies From Wrecking Your Voice

This month has been an allergy nightmare here in D.C.  Don’t know if you’re experiencing the same thing, but it’s a good time to review this blog post that offers some tips to survive the season….


With allergy season upon us, you may find yourself sneezing through your on-air work. There’s nothing like a runny nose and a scratchy throat to make your broadcast sound like it’s being done by a person with a bad cold. So what should you do when allergies strike?

First drink plenty of water or any decaffeinated fluid (caffeine has a slight diuretic effect). Aim for half your body weight in ounces a day.  This will help thin out the mucous that the histamines are triggering when you have an allergy attack. The thinner the mucous, the less problems you’ll have with it flowing through your throat because it won’t be thick and gluey. There are loads of apps like MyFitnessPal and devices like FitBit that can help you keep track of your fluid intake.

To attack the allergy itself, I like the natural remedy of using a neti pot.  You can pick these up at most drugstores, and you use the neti pot to rinse out your nasal passages.  I find this often takes care of my allergies if I rinse once or twice a day.  Here’s what the FDA has to say about the use of a neti pot.  The most important thing is to use only distilled water.

The next thing to consider is whether or not to take antihistamines. This drug can do wonders to dry up the mucous that is driving you crazy, but in the process it may make your throat too dry. A dry throat is an invitation for possible damage to that delicate tissue. The vocal folds (or cords) are two very small pieces of muscle and ligament in your throat that can be easily damaged when the throat is too dry (see my blog post, Don’t Let Coughing Sabotage Your Broadcast).   See a doctor if you think you need antihistamines and follow directions closely so that you don’t get too dried out.  You don’t want to cure one problem only to create a bigger one.

Ck out my ebook, BROADCAST VOICE HANDBOOKYou can read about lots more ways to care for your voice.  Helpful for Voiceover Artists and Broadcasters!

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Nicola Redman November 8, 2014, 3:10 pm

    Thanks for the advice, I struggle with allergic rhinitis so all help is welcome. And if you’re really in bother, hit up the doctors…
    Irish Voice

  • Ann S. Utterback, Ph.D. November 8, 2014, 7:24 pm

    Good advice, Nicola! I love your website. It’s great fun to read your blog! You’re much funnier than I am 🙂

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