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Allergic rhinitis and the voice

Posted: August 12th, 2006, 11:35 am
by tina
I have 'allergic rhinitis' which is medical-ese for a continually runny nose and post nasal drip. I always have tissues nearby, and I often have to clear my throat. Unfortunately, I'm allergic to dust mites, which means there is no off-season.

Does anyone have any tips for improving my voice clarity for recording?

Posted: August 12th, 2006, 1:29 pm
by ceastman
Drink a lot of liquids, particularly stuff like hot herbal/citrus flavor tea. The steam will help clear your nasal passages, and I always feel like the hot water helps clear away the gook in my throat.

Other than that... err.. buy an air filter and run it for a few hours in the room you do recording in before starting to record?

-Catharine, who gets hay fever regularly (did you hear my acacia-induced sneezes over in the Bloopers thread?)

Posted: August 12th, 2006, 1:37 pm
by Starlite
I read somwhere the singers don't drink milk before a performance because it creates alot of mucous in the throat. Guess that will help to exasperate your condition. So stay away from that. ( my 2 cents worth) :)

Posted: August 12th, 2006, 1:59 pm
by tina
Awww, man, I can't live without my cereal! :?

Perhaps if I follow it up with a cup of tea?

As for the air filter, I suppose until I have the spare cash, I should try running the vacuum more regularly....

Posted: August 12th, 2006, 2:09 pm
by Starlite
tina wrote:Awww, man, I can't live without my cereal! :?

Perhaps if I follow it up with a cup of tea?
You can have your cereal, just not before recording! Try it, you'll see.

Posted: August 12th, 2006, 6:16 pm
by MermaidMaddie
I'm looking forward to hearing more suggestions myself. Though my problem is sort of the opposite...chronic congestion/frequent sinusitis which years of trying various decongestants, nasal sprays, etc. as well as tons of tests have provided no answers or relief. Added to a particularly bad summer of asthma attacks, I always fear that my recordings sound gaspy and nasally. I usually can only read a sentence or two and then I have to stop and gasp. I definitely have no "breath control", I barely have any breath to control, LOL.

The suggestion about avoiding "mucousy" foods makes great sense (I don't drink milk anyway,) but does anyone else who's chronically congested (as opposed to Tina's being chronically runny-nosed ;) ) have any other ideas...i.e. maybe natural supplements that might help? I can get temporarily relief with sudafed (plain old sudafed, not that new PE stuff which doesn't work for anything,) but since many stores don't carry it now, and those that do, you have to wait in line at the pharmacy, show your ID and then electronically sign your name (I had to do all of that last time I bought ONE box...give me a freaking break!!! If it's that big of a deal, make it a prescription medication so that people that actually medically need it can still get it without having to provide fingerprints and sign away their first born :evil: )

Umm..yeah, anyway back to the topic at hand...tina, before recording have you tried using a nasal spray (the saline's sold here under the brand name "ocean" among others, I don't know how available it is there) to irrigate stuff out, then blow your nose really well and hope it stays clear for the whole recording? or does it get drippy again right away? (Sorry if that sounds gross, but you know what I mean.) Or, are you on any decongestant or allergy pill that you could time taking it shortly before you're going to record?
(That may sound ridiculous, coming from me after I just pointed out that medications don't relieve my problem, but everyone is different so maybe you'd at least get relief long enough not to be contending with it during recording?)

Posted: August 12th, 2006, 8:28 pm
by ceastman
Starlite wrote:I read somwhere the singers don't drink milk before a performance because it creates alot of mucous in the throat. Guess that will help to exasperate your condition. So stay away from that. ( my 2 cents worth) :)
I've DEFINITELY found that if I have milk (or milk products, eg cream cheese) a short time (like, 1-1.5hours) before attempting to sing, my throat is ALL gooked up. So during church choir season, I get a scone or a muffin or something like that for breakfast Sunday morning, and that way I have something more resembling a voice when rehearsal starts.

Funnily enough, I didn't really notice it until about a year ago. Dunno why.


Posted: August 12th, 2006, 8:40 pm
by kristin
Yes, dairy is the enemy. And that's not just milk, I find any dairy can cause those problems. I have allergies and just hate taking anything. Here are some things I've found helps congestion.
1) A bowl of boiling water with a few drops of eucalyptus oil and a towl over your head. The combination of steam and eucalyptus clears the sinuses. (As long as you're not allergic to it. There is a difference between pure eucalyptus oil, which I'm not allergic too and the eucalyptus scented stuff they sell in stores which I am.) Unfortunately, this can occationally cause dripping.
2) And since you've boiled water have a cup of Ginger Lemon tea. Lovely. Just eats away any phlegm.
3) Don't vacuum or dust or shake out rugs before you plan to record. It angers the dust mites and they will make you pay.
4) When all else fails, I give in and take a claritin. It's the only thing that doesn't knock me out. Unfortunately, I find it only works for about 6-8 hours not 24.
5) I've forgotten the other thing. I'll add it when I remember.
6) If you are getting a sore throat from drainage gargling with sage in warm water might help. It has a slight numbing effect.

Oh, yeah, I also go through more than my share of herbal cough drops. I suck on them for a little while then stick them back to the paper until I need them again.

Posted: August 13th, 2006, 1:29 am
by tina
I'm taking a prescription medicine that does not interact well with other drugs, so I only take an anti-histimine when my allergies get unbearable. Sudafed is so drying that I only take it when I have a cold that blocks everything up. Actually I don't even know if it's available in England. I don't think I've tried to find any since I got here.

Saline nasal spray is a good idea though, and no worries about side effects or drug interactions. And perhaps a warm salt water gargle?

Posted: August 13th, 2006, 2:19 am
by Stephan
Dust/ Mites:

For better sleeping: Use one of those anti-allergy sacks (mite-shite proof) around your blanket and then put your usual bed cloth around this sack - As a second layer around your mite infested sleeping blanket - the mite excrements will be filtered and stay inside the sack.
Use another one around your matress.

Lessen the amount of Flowers in the rooms you use.
Remove carpets - have hard floor in the rooms you use.
Without flowers and carpets the rooms will look poor but it helps.

Let your husband do the vacuming and changing of bedcloth.

Posted: August 14th, 2006, 9:25 pm
by kristin
Oh, I remembered the something else. To relieve congestion and pressure in your face, massage it. Start with your forehead and run your fingers from the center out to your temples. Then move to below your eye sockets with light pressure. Then apply pressure to the bridge of your nose and along the lower part of your cheekbones. Continue this for a few minutes swallowing frequently, you should feel things start to drain, (ick, I know) then drink a big glass of water.

Posted: August 15th, 2006, 4:16 am
by gypsygirl
I do a sinus rinse (sort of a step up from saline spray) when I have a bad cold. It clears things out nicely for an hour or two. It can be a bit gross, but I find the results good enough to deal with it.

Posted: August 15th, 2006, 1:04 pm
by Sandra
Take a hot shower before you record, and keep hot tea at the desk! That's what I do when hay fever periodically attacks.

Also, if you are doing a really gritty reading, the effects of allergies on the voice could be advantageous (occasionally).