We have hardly been at school for a month and I am already experiencing isolation, lockdown and remote work/learning deja vus. Students all over the country have started to test positive for Covid-19. Many others are also getting colds. The crowded classroom environment makes it easy for such viruses to thrive and rapidly spread to other family members. And it's normal at this time of the year; what else could we expect?!
Although thankfully most people who develop Covid-19 have mild symptoms, getting sick is never fun. If singing is your hobby, passion or a source of income, even a mild cold can set you back for weeks. Breath is at the foundation of singing therefore great lung function is essential to your vocal health. But even a runny nose that may at first seem inconsequential and certainly less inconvenient than a full on sore throat can trigger post nasal drip and carry the virus down your vocal track to extend the duration of your discomfort. Phlegm and vocal cord swelling can rip you off of your true vocal self overnight.
In the interest of increasing your immune system and avoiding catching anything to begin with, let's take another look at what you can do to shield the common cold and flu viruses in addition to keeping Covid-19 away.
1) Avoid Sugar
It's no coincidence that the flu season starts peaking around Halloween and reaches its height after the holidays. Sugar suppresses your immune system by putting your white cells into a coma for up to 3 hours. The white cell's ability to ward off illnesses is reduced to about 50%. So if you eat lots of sugary treats and other carbohydrates which the body also processes as sugar, you're in trouble! Besides stating the obvious that snack foods, sweets and desserts should be avoided, here are other, normally considered to be healthy foods, that we don't normally think of as harmful but unfortunately are. Only eat those in moderation:
-Grains with gluten
Boost your immune system by eating more cruciferous and green vegetables instead. Also keep in mind that alcoholic drinks are often high in sugar and that, since beer is made from wheat, it will spike your blood sugar levels. Hard liquor like gin, vodka, rum and whiskey are healthier choices!
Zinc has antiviral properties that prevent the cold and flu viruses as well as Covid-19 to stick to mucous membranes of the nose and throat. Hence, it reduces the viruses' ability to multiply and it curbs inflammation. I would recommend consulting your doctor or naturopath to determine your proper daily dosage because too much Zinc can be toxic and trigger other problems such as copper deficiency, anemia or loss of smell when used in a spray. It should be around 8-11 mg daily for adults but can vary according to your weight. Taking Zinc in a chelated form encourages absorption.
3) Vitamin D and Melatonin
Spend more time in the sun and you will sleep better. That's because Vitamin D plays an important role in the pathway of melatonin synthesis. Quality sleep is super important to manage stress, a great enemy to your immune system. Since it can be challenging to spend enough time outside to get the daily recommended amount of your sunshine vitamin, taking supplements is a simple fix. According to WebMD.com Vitamin D Council, between 2000 to 4000 IU should do the trick but again, check with your health provider for correct dosage. Your ethnicity, how much time you spend outside, where you live and even what you wear may affect this. Melatonin is naturally occurring in your body. I would refrain from substituting it with pills (unless occasionally) because taking it too often can interfere with your metabolism and create dependency.
Now if you don't have any cold or flu but you have other reasons not to feel in top vocal shape, I can certainly be of help. Your body is your instrument. Give it what it needs to succeed.
If singing is important to you but you know that your lack of technical understanding and bad habits are holding you back....
If it makes sense to you that using your voice correctly to speak and sing will encourage faster healing if you had the misfortune of catching a cold, flu or Covid...
If you are interested in taking advantage of this time, while you are healthy, to expand your skills...
If you have never taken singing lessons and are ready to unleash your full potential...
Then I am the voice doctor that you have been looking for. I specialize in removing tension for the vocal instrument in order to dramatically increase range and projection, beautify tone and boost confidence. If you choose to work with me, it will benefit your singing by giving you all of the tools that you need to reach higher levels of success. My schedule is getting quite busy this month so please hurry if you want a chance to speak to me about your vocal goals. There are only a few spots available to book your FREE consultation session. Go to: