Updated: Apr 29, 2020
Considering that Toronto had its first snow storm on Remembrance Day, I think it is safe to say that the flu and common cold season has officially started. Everybody knows washing hands and keeping them out of our face are great ways to avoid contracting those viruses. And still we get sick. This is frustrating for singers; amateurs and pros because although the main symptoms typically last a week, vocal cords are often impacted for several more. Many advocate getting the flu shot. I have personally never done it. I question pharmaceutical financial interests in promoting vaccination and the entire effectiveness of it. What else can we do to increase the odds of staying healthy this winter?
1) Gut Health
The digestive track is our second brain. If you have taken antibiotics in the past, chances are it disturbed your gut flora. When overflowing with bad bacteria, the immune system struggles deterring viruses. To re-establish balance between your good and bad bacteria, eat fermented food such as kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, miso, tempeh and yogurt. If probiotic rich foods aren't enough to fix your gut, increase your good bacteria in the form of supplements. I love Dr. Vincent Pedre's United Naturals Synbiotic 365. The unique addition of multiple vitamin B complexes and chicory root insure the absorption of the probiotic therefore making my supplement a smart investment.
2) Go Sugar Free In Favor Of Vitamin C
Every time you have sugar, you are weakening your immune system. While you may feel an energy rush after eating sweets, blood cells are actually placed into a lethargic mode for hours. Vitamin C on the other hand support white blood cells to protect the body from infection. Given that both sugar and vitamin C compete to enter blood cells, it is easy to decide which to favor. I personally avoid all sources of sugar including honey and maple syrup. It's a challenging dietary change to implement in the beginning but our taste buds eventually adapt by appreciating the real taste of food. If you buy processed products, read all labels and pick brands with lower sugar content. If you enjoy baking, naturally sweeten by incorporating bananas, coconut flour and cinnamon to your recipes.
3) Keep Hands Off Door Knobs
Seriously, door knobs in public places are practically never washed and super filthy. So gross. Call me germaphobe, you know I'm right! Use the accessibility button whenever possible to prop open doors. Take advantage of courteous people holding doors for you. Otherwise, use your foot, elbow or shoulder to push open swinging doors. If there's no choice other than grabbing the door knob, cover your hand with your clothes! Do whatever it takes not to touch it, haha!
I hope these tips will save you from any future sore throat, runny nose and coughing. My next blog shall discuss what to do if you get sick anyway. Until then, stay well and healthy! Happy singing!