A 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 voice 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.