It’s happened again – cold and flu season has struck. I don’t know about you, but I’m in the middle of my annual winter cold which invariably leads to my annual battle with laryngitis.
This bout is particularly annoying, because my spouse is leaving for a business trip tomorrow and my voiceless self will have to call the dogs in from the backyard, communicate with my three-year-old and – gasp! – answer the phone.
What to do?
According to www.mothernature.com, laryngitis, hoarseness, and general loss of voice is the result of swelling and/or injury to your vocal cords. Guess all that coughing I did the other night wasn’t such a good idea. The website offers these basic home remedies:
Don’t gargle. Whatever you’re gargling doesn’t get far enough down your throat to even reach your vocal cords – it doesn’t do any good. Plus, apparently the vibrations produced by gargling could make the damage worse.
Shut up. This is the hardest one for me. But the experts agree that the best way to heal an injury – including injury to the vocal cords – is to let the hurt body part rest. This includes no whispering! Did you know that whispering actually can make your laryngitis worse? Under normal circumstances, whispers are produced by straining the vocal cords; imagine how much worse it would be if they’re already injured!
Stay away from extremes. Drink a lot, but nothing too hot or too cold, as both temperatures do funny things to blood flow and hot drinks can dry out your throat – which is a bummer, because both hot and icy drinks feel so good going down your sore throat! Room temperature water or juice is best, or barely warm herbal tea. A friend of mine swears by warm pineapple juice. If you think you can stomach it, be my guest!
Be picky about cough drops. Mint and menthol-based ones dry out your stuffy sinuses, yes, but they also dry out your throat. Actually, you may want to avoid cough drops completely – after all, they’re not actually medicinal, just glorified candy.
Humidify, humidify, humidify. Take a long hot shower or bath. Buy a humidifier and use it. Boil a pot of water and inhale the steam. Not only will this help your laryngitis, it should clear your stuffy nose, too. And pretty soon you'll be able to sing in that shower again!