10 Performer Remedies for the Common Cold

Written by Aria Schuler (Transcendence Summer Intern)

Unfortunately, it’s cold season. Although they may seem like superhumans, Broadway performers get sick just like you and me.

As a Broadway artist, their body is their instrument. Playing show after show sometimes leaves them feeling exhausted, mentally and physically, and that can lead to the dreaded common cold. But all hope is not lost! With these ten cold-busting tips, not only will you be feeling better, you’ll be ready to conquer your next performance, whether it’s on the Field of Dreams or just singing in the shower.

1. Chewing Gum

The first way you can get rid of the common cold is something you probably do on a regular basis. Chewing gum, particularly any flavor with mint, can help your throat. Menthol in peppermint can actually soothe inflammation in throat tissue, and the saliva you generate from chewing any flavor helps to coat your throat and alleviate pain.

2. Talk Less, Smile More

While this one seems obvious, vocal rest is just that… a much-needed rest. Screaming clearly is overexertion of your vocal cords, but whispering can actually irritate your larynx even more. The best thing you can do is avoid loud places and maybe make a vocal rest sign to alert your friends and co-workers.

3. Healthy Foods

Nutrition is a critical way to help heal yourself. When you’re sick, the first thing you need is an endless supply of energy to boost your immune system. Sweet potato is a phenomenal combination of carbs and vitamins, bananas have a limitless supply of B12, and salmon is chock full of protein which will have you back in fighting condition in no time. Additionally, just eating healthy and consuming vegetables rich in water content are all surefire ways to get yourself off the couch and back onstage.

4. A Hint of Spice

While eating delicious and nutritious fruits, vegetables, and other healthy things is the best option for a healing diet, you curry lovers are also in luck. Spicy foods can provide a way to clear up sinuses, leaving you ready to belt out in song. However, this remedy requires moderation, as too much spicy food can be potentially damaging to your vocal cords. A little goes a long way.

5. Hydrate

This tip is on any health blog, anywhere on the internet, the main reason being because it absolutely works. Drinking exorbitant amounts of water is the cure-all. If you get bored with traditional H2O, try coconut water or tea.

6. Don’t overdo it with the OTC

While over the counter painkillers or cough syrup can make you feel better short term, be sure not to go too crazy. Too much of any medicine can have side effects with other bodily functions and a lot of cough syrups are actually designed to make you suffer a runny nose all at once to clear you out. Instead, try homeopathic remedies, like honey, herbal tea, or protein powder to further bolster your immune system.

7. Gargle saltwater

While at the beach, you try to avoid getting a mouth full of saltwater, gargling this concoction can dislodge mucus and eliminate bacteria from your system. Normally half a teaspoon of salt will do it.

8. Streeeeetchhhhh

It can be hard to remember this one when all you want to do is stay in bed and watch TV, but don’t be afraid to get on your feet and stretch it out. If you have an upcoming performance, then the worst thing you can do is let your muscles atrophy. Even a light routine can make all the difference.

9. Take a day… or a nap

While most of these remedies can keep you going, sometimes all you need is a sick day. Sometimes staying home and sleeping in is the best way for your body to fight off infection.

10. Mind and body

At the end of the day, artists perform because they love it. Sicknesses come and go, but the exhilarating feeling of singing and dancing is forever. So make sure that in addition to your body getting ready to perform, your mind is ready too. Practice actively listening, engage in a modified all cast warm-up, and say (not in a whisper!) break a leg to everyone involved.

No one likes being sick, especially not performers. But with these tips, you will be able to get rid of your cold, and back to the stage (or shower) in no time.