Monday, December 11, 2017

What to do if you catch a cold and a concert is looming

At this time of year many of you will be singing in Christmas concerts.


It’s also the time of year when there are plenty of bugs around. Here’s a timely reminder of what you can do if you catch a cold and a concert is coming up.

Almost every day on Facebook singers and choir leaders are asking for advice on how to treat a cold because they’ve got an important concert coming up.

The usual folk remedies are trotted out: honey and lemon, ginger and garlic, hot toddy, turmeric tea and so on.

Worse still are recommendations for ‘cures’ you can buy at your local chemist. Various cough mixtures, throat lozenges, decongestants, zinc, vitamin C.

There is no evidence that any of these work to shorten the length of a cold or reduce symptoms.

They may make you feel a little better in the short term (a hot drink or sugary sweet will do that!), but they won’t help your cold go away any quicker.

If you take some of the over-the-counter remedies you may actually be making things worse.

You might be tempted to carry on singing because you’ve taken a magic throat lozenge which has ‘fixed’ your problem. It may dull the symptoms enough for you to sing, but that means you may be doing damage to your throat because it’s been numbed.

The best advice is to rest, drink plenty of fluids (preferably NOT tea, coffee or alcohol) and take paracetamol (Tylenol) when needed.

If you can possibly avoid singing in the concert, then you will recover more quickly. If you absolutely MUST sing, you may well be passing your bug onto other singers (not very responsible) and delaying your own recovery (which may mean that you won’t be able to sing for many weeks).

Remember: it’s just a concert. There will be another one along soon. Get things in perspective and look after yourself.

other articles

You may find these other posts of interest.

Looking after yourself in a busy concert season

Keep it to yourself! – why colds, singing and choirs don’t mix

How to care for your voice over the festive season

Taking care of ourselves as choir and workshop leaders

The choir leader’s guide to catching a cold

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Chris Rowbury



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