Five Simple Ways to Care for Your Voice in Winter

Winter’s cold, changing weather and dry indoor climates can put a lot of stress on your body, especially the respiratory system and your voice.  Here are five easy ways to care for your voice this winter:

Hard Candy
Hard Candy.
Photo: Adam Zivner
  • Drink lots of fluid, especially water
  • Use a humidifier
  • Stay away from caffeine and alcohol if you have to speak, as they dehydrate
  • Avoid milk products and chocolate, as they can lead to mucous congestion
  • Suck on hard candy for added moisture

Everyone’s system is different, so know how you react to different foods and environmental conditions.

This post was originally published January 22, 2017

Read the new edition of The Public Speaking Wire!

We are excited to announce that the newest edition of our newsletter, The Public Speaking Wire, is out! Read it for useful tips on public speaking for job hunters and new business seekers, as well as tips for saving your voice on cold days and ways to relax tense jaw muscles.

We hope you enjoy it, and look forward to your feedback!

Five Simple Ways to Care for Your Voice in Winter

Winter’s cold, changing weather and dry indoor climates can put a lot of stress on your body, especially the respiratory system and your voice.  Here are five easy ways to care for your voice this winter:

Hard Candy
Hard Candy.
Photo: Adam Zivner
  • Drink lots of fluid, especially water
  • Use a humidifier
  • Stay away from caffeine and alcohol if you have to speak, as they dehydrate
  • Avoid milk products and chocolate, as they can lead to mucous congestion
  • Suck on hard candy for added moisture

Everyone’s system is different, so know how you react to different foods and environmental conditions.

How do you protect your voice in the winter?  Please feel free to share any tips or hints below.

Throw Away That Popsicle!

Popsicle BreakA glass of ice water, a slice of chilled watermelon, a grape juice popsicle.  Sounds great in hot weather, doesn’t it?

If you’re a public speaker or a singer like I am, beware.  These ice cold  refreshers triggered some of the nastiest asthma  and allergy attacks I’ve had,  leading to extensive mucous in my throat, constant attempts at  throat clearing, and finally triggering irritative laryngitis or reflux laryngitis (when gastric acid backs up into the larynx, pharynx, and esophagus).

I admit it: I may be hyper-sensitive.  Anything mucous-producing, from alcohol to milk products, chocolate, and even red meat, can set off an allergic attack.

Years ago, when I was doing some professional singing, I went to a noted otolaryngologist who was THE go-to doctor for opera and theater legends, from pop singers to opera divas. His first piece of advice: avoid red wine, milk products and chocolate. My own voicePopsicle, Lime, Cold.  Yum. teachers were also telling me to avoid very hot or very cold drinks, instead sticking to room temperature or warm beverages.

Only years later, after researching and consulting doctors, did I learn that cold can trigger an allergic reaction leading to reflux, and, just as cold weather can trigger an asthma attack, so can drinking or eating something cold.  In short, it’s a shock to your vocal chords.

Now that I know the culprit, I’m careful about assaulting my throat with very cold foods or beverages.  And when symptoms flare, I head for my asthma inhaler and an antihistimine-decongestant.  No more popsicles for me!

Photos courtesy of Kristin Resurreccion and Sergio Feria via Flickr.