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I often get asked how to relieve a sort throat; not because I have any kind of medical education, but probably because I’ve suffered with them so often in my life.
In fact, you might say I’m a bit of an expert on them – from a sufferer’s perspective, that is.
When I was 3 years old I experienced a life-threatening throat infection which included a 107º fever, seizures, other gory details which don’t really add anything of value to this post, and of course, unrelenting sore throat pain. Throughout my life, it seems that every time I get sick it always starts with the most HORRIFIC throat pain imaginable. I mean searing, burning pain that makes you contort your whole body when you swallow to try to avoid it. Razor blades and barbed wire would be easier to swallow than your own spit when you have one of these sore throats.
Yeah . . . I know a little something about the subject. . .
But, when you are a performer who uses your voice like I do, you need to know how to tame the pain and try to keep from losing your voice altogether. The show must go on after all!
One obvious bit of advice is NO TALKING!! This includes no whispering or vocalizing of any kind; whispering is especially harsh on the delicate vocal chords.
It seems like common sense, but it’s harder to maintain radio silence than you think. When you’re a Chatty Cathy (or a Blibbering Betty) like me, it’s the hardest thing in the world to do!
Help, I’m talking and I can’t shut up!
Aside from shutting your trap, you probably want something in the way of more immediate relief. There’s a wealth of information about sore throat remedies out on the web if you search or you can just ask somebody’s mom. I’ll post links to vocal health advice from trusted professionals below, but first, let me give you some tried and true home remedies that have always worked for me:
Gargle with baking soda and salt in warm water
Mix 1/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp baking soda in a small glass of warm tap water. You have to repeat often – every hour or so – but it really helps! This is a remedy my mother always gave me when I was growing up. I didn’t much care for it, but once I recognized it’s power (as an adult) I became a firm believer. The real key is that you must repeat it often and don’t drink anything right after gargling or you’ll just wash it all away.
Drink Franks Red Hot
Oh yes it’s awesome – quit giving me that look! Melt in some butter and warm it up if you like (think wings without the wings). It’s also great for the sinuses! I suppose any hot sauce would do, but in my house, Franks rules! Anything else is sacrilege. I only use their original flavor as the others aren’t grain free.
It’s recommended by doctors for cancer patients with sore throats! According to Robert S. Gillespie, MD, MPH – Pediatrician, children 2 years and older can take a mixture of Maalox and Benadryl to coat and soothe the throat. They can take it every 2 hours, as needed. The doses are:
• 2 through 5 years – ½ teaspoon Maalox mixed with ¼ teaspoon Benadryl
• 6 through 11 years – 1 teaspoon Maalox mixed with ½ teaspoon Benadryl
• 12 years and older – 2 teaspoons Maalox mixed with 1 teaspoon Benadry
Drink hot water, honey, lemon, and cayenne
Make a cup of hot water (like you would for tea, but NO tea) and add honey, lemon juice and a dash of cayenne pepper. This is a FABULOUS mixture for when you have to sing or speak with a sore throat. When I’m performing and losing my voice I carry thermoses of it and take constant sips!!
Now that you’ve read my advice, visit these places to read what the pros have to say:
Do you have any remedies of your own? I’d love for you to share them with me by leaving a comment below!