As a holistic voice coach and the voice mastery mentor, I have been helping people for more than two decades, preserve their voices through even the most extreme situations: sickness, infection, vocal fatigue, nodules, nodes, inflammation, and many other issues.
In many cases, a performer, actor or speaker can’t necessarily just cancel their performance or presentation… unless of course, you are the pop start Pink! For most of us mere mortals however, the show must go on!
This video covers some of the steps you CAN take to get through that presentation even when you are coming down with the dreaded superbug of the season!
Have a note pad and pen handy as there is lots of info in here.
(Stay tuned for the next part in this series, as I will be talking about the vocal techniques needed to get through when you are sick and having trouble speaking clearly because of it.)
Have you ever heard the expression the show must go on?
Well, what happens if a performer or a speaker gets sick?
Now, this happened just really recently to Grant Cardone, who was doing a three- day event and on the very first day, within the first couple of hours, his voice completely packed it in.
He was left with thousands of people wanting to attend this three- day event that they’d paid for and they’d come all that way to see him, but he couldn’t perform or speak or coach on those three days. He had to cancel the event.
Now I’m here to tell you today that there are things that you can do as a professional speaker, as a performer, as a singer, as an actor, whatever you have to do, sometimes the show must go on.
So, I’m going to go through a little regime of what you can do when the flu or worse hits and you have to be onstage.
So first of all, you’re going to think about how is it that you’re experiencing these symptoms? Is it a flu-like symptom in the head, is it heaviness, is it sinus, is it postnasal drip, is it a chesty infection, like what is it that’s really slowing you down, or making you ill?
Then you can make some decisions based on the symptoms that you have. But if you really have to go on, number one thing you’re going to do, is first thing in the morning when you know you’re feeling like crap, let’s face it….you’re going to go straight to the chemist or the health food store to stock up for the entire next 24 to 48 hours. You have to do that, you cannot just go to bed and ignore the symptoms, you’ve got to kick it in the butt as fast as you can.
So, the number one thing, you’re going to buy is something like this.
Now I take this on the road with me, it’s called Armour-force. And the reason I take this particular one is that it’s a small package. Literally, that’s the only reason, it’s small and it fits into an overnight bag really, really easily. My first choice, however, would be olive leaf extract and it’s a huge bottle, and it weighs a lot, but it’s really good and really fast. And grapefruit seed extract is also good. But this is good because it’s got olive leaf extract in it, which is anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and it’s got echinacea. And echinacea’s also known, proven to lessen the severity of colds and flu and things. So, this is a really good choice to start taking straightaway, and you can even take it as a preventative.
But as soon as you get the first little symptom you start taking this twice a day, morning and night, just follow the instructions on the box. It’s all-natural, there are no drugs in this at all, it will support your immune system while it’s killing the bug, extremely important.
Now, if you’re like me and you get blocked up head and sinuses and things like that when you get sick, there are some really good alternatives that you can have naturally as well before you need to go to the drug ways. These days I get a lot of stuff in Australia from IHerb.com. When I was living in America, I used to get it from Vitacost.com, which is absolutely brilliant, but now that I live in Australia, I get the same types of products from Whole Foods, (through IHerb) which is the best and most wonderful Whole Foods supermarket in America, but you can get this from iherb.com. I will post all of these links in the comments below to make sure that you know where to get this sort of stuff. This is the bomb.
If you have nasal congestion or trouble with flu, the first thing that some people do is go and buy medicated nasal spray. Which is fine and dandy for emergencies only, and I will go through that in a minute, because there’s a very specific way you need to take the medicated nasal spray. But this you can take 10 times a day, and it’s got grapefruit seed extract in it, which is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, etc. and is really good for you. it’s got saline solution as well and a bit of stevia to make it taste a little bit better because you have to bring it straight through to the sinuses.
You can literally just sniff it up like the saline solution we get here in Australia, but it just, it goes right into the sinuses and kills any bacteria and virus as well because it’s not just saline it’s got grapefruit seed extract in it. And if you look up grapefruit seed extract, it is a really potent anti-viral and anti-fungal and anti-bacterial property that will kill all the bugs that are hanging around your face. So I’m almost out of this so I had to go and get something local, which is this saline solution from Australia which is not as good, but because I’ve got to do my order from the States, and I’m on tour at the moment, I didn’t have any more of this available.
So, if in doubt, and you have to do something short term, then a saline solution is absolutely fine.
There is one in Australia that has I think, eucalyptus or tea tree in it as well, but it’s nowhere near as good, or tastes as good as this one X Clear from I Herb and Vitacost in the States. So that would be my absolutely first choice.
If you tend to have allergies, asthma, sinus things like that, just buy two or three of them and stick them in your medicine cabinet, so you can take them with you everywhere. If you travel a lot like I do, and you are performing a lot onstage like I do, then you really need to just have it with you just in case any allergies or blocked nose for whatever reason. It’s all-natural, it will not hurt you at all.
So, it’s just really good thing to have your bag.
Now let’s talk about some medications that you can take. Because this is really important that you take the right medication. If you are a speaker who’s going to be on stage for a long period of time, you need to avoid as much as you can things that will dry you up too much. And I find personally things like that are antihistamines and Sudafed.
When you dry up the mucus, and I know we have to sometimes so we can actually breathe but that’s why a nasal spray comes in handy. If you really have to and you’re really desperate, by all means take one of those things, but if you can just kill it with a little bit of pain and a bit of decongestant, but not something that dries up all of the mucus-like an antihistamine does, then something like a cold and flu tablet, and if you can get away with it, take a half dose before you go on stage, not a full dose. And then compensate with your nasal sprays and some painkiller if you really have to.
When we’re on stage, we’re using our voice for long periods of time, and some of my speaker students use their voices for eight, 10 hours a day on stage when they’re training. Now if you’ve just completely dried up all the mucosa lining because of all the drugs that you are taking, your poor little vocal folds are really going to be suffering because they’re lacking in the mucosa lining and the moisture that is desperately needed.
So if that’s you, and you really cannot go on stage without these decongestants to take away the pain or the fever or whatever it is, then I highly recommend that you steam or you get a little personal steamer and you steam multiple times a day to compensate. Even if you’re on stage and you’re in the middle of a gig, you’re going to have breaks at some stage. Have somebody ready with a kettle offstage, if you don’t have one of those personals steamers, just fill a cup of water, boiling water, put a little towel or a scarf over your head, and then breathe it straight into your vocal folds to make sure that your vocal folds are getting the moisture that they need.
Now speakers and singers, when we’re speaking if you notice we do mouth breathing. Because we speak fast, and we have lots of content so we don’t have time to take a nasal breath. So, a lot of the time we’re just going to be breathing through the mouth which again dries out the vocal folds and makes them even drier. And we’ve got air conditioning and all sorts of pollution and things like that to consider as well. So really taking a steamer or having a kettle and a cup is all you really need to keep that mucosa lining from drying out.
Now there are lots more things that I do that I’ll go into on another tip, but this was a quick tip video to make sure that if you’re getting a flu this season or if you’re getting a cold, or you’re getting sinus or something and you really have to be on stage and you really have to perform tomorrow or the next day, you’ve got to get on to this stuff straightaway.
So just as a quick review, Armour force is fantastic. It’s got olive leaf extract and echinacea, both of which will help raise your immune system and kill the bug at the same time, but it doesn’t hurt your immune system and it’s not a drug. I will post these in the comments below.
If you can get to I Herb, then order some X Clear. This is the best nasal spray, absolutely natural. It’s not a nasal decongestant but I notice that when you’re really blocked up and you take it multiple times a day, it does sort of act as a decongestant over time.
However, It’s not immediate. Natural remedies take time to work with your immune system. If you can’t get some X Clear and you’re in a hurry and you really need to flush out some blockage then just get some plain old saline solution from the chemist. And if you really, really, really have to, then get your medicated nasal sprays.
Here is an important tip about nasal sprays that are medicated. If you’re a speaker, the worst thing you can do is sniff it up and allow it to go, straight into your vocal folds. Because now, you are drying up and de-congesting your vocal folds, which is the worst, honestly, the worst thing you can do when you need to speak for hours.
So very, very important, when you’re taking a medicated nasal spray, you’re going to tip your head on the side, spray it into one nostril and then just let it really seep into the sinuses here. And do not breathe it so deeply that it goes through your vocal folds. You don’t want to take a huge inhalation. You can feel when it’s going down into your throat. You know sometimes when you sniff up nasal spray too much and it goes down your throat? Do not do that, because you’re putting the medication right past your vocal folds when you’re breathing it in. So be extremely careful with the nasal spray, very gently into the sinus cavity and then just let it drain for a minute or so and then do the other side as well. Do not sniff it up, because it will damage and dry out your vocal folds.
So, I hope that has helped you today. Please post below and let me know if you have any questions. Just share any experiences that you’ve had or if anything works for you, that’s specific that you use on a regular basis that is your go-to. Please share it with everybody because we need to know these things as speakers, singers and actors and professional voice users. All of us need to manage our best asset: Our Voice.
I am Elisa James your holistic voice coach and expert in vocal biomechanics and saving YOUR voice. if you have any questions, I’d love to answer them for you in the next video
See you next time.