What should I do if I have a scratchy throat?

Care For Your Voice...........

There are lots of the reasons why a singer might develop that raw, dry, scratchy, aching feeling in the throat. The first thing the comes to mind is dehydration. Hydration allows the vocal folds to stay limber and maintain the protective mucosal lining which coats the vocal folds and protects them from the natural friction that occurs during vocalization. My goal is to drink half of my body weight x ounces of water each day to stay hydrated.

Sometimes it's just a seasonal cold coming on. Some cold and allergy medications can contribute to dryness in the throat and cause that scratchy feeling. If you have been singing or speaking a lot, "over use" can lead to vocal fatigue and can also cause a scratchy throat. If you experience strain and tension when you sing it might be time to use better technique.

REMEDIES: Some warm liquid remedies include green or black tea with honey, warm lemon water with honey, and broth. Using a humidifier in your home will provide moisture in the air. My personal go-to remedy is "Slippery Elm Lozenges, for singers, belters, and screamers", available at health food stores and online. Slippery Elm can soothe an irritated throat and reduce inflammation by soothing mucous membranes. Slippery Elm contains compounds that are both germ-killing and histamine balancing allowing it to soothe and bring down irritation, swelling, and pain. Don't rely on throat sprays and cough drops long term. If they contain menthol they could make you think your throat is feeling better then you can overuse your voice and cause more damage. They'll dry out your throat and mouth too.

Give your voice a rest. If it’s not absolutely necessary to speak or sing give your vocal cords and body a few days to rest and recover. Avoiding the extremes to your vocal range such as loud whispering or screaming might also be helpful. If you have been exposed to strep, you may want to see your primary doctor for a strep test. If you think your condition is serious or has lasted more then a week you might consult your primary care doctor or see an ENT to find out if there’s something more serious going on.

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