Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Allergies Are Nothing to Sneeze At

While we are enjoying unseasonably bright and warm March weather here in Vermont, several of us here at Such A Voice are already suffering from spring allergies, migraines, and bouts of sinusitis. Last week's migraine stuck around for a couple days, and even as I write this, my jaw aches from what I'm sure is mild sinusitis. I'm not a masochist -- I don't enjoy the pain, but I can safely say that I hate the drug-induced "balloon head" sensation and the sound of my dry, raspy voice I get after taking allergy medicine.

As voice-over artists, we are always battling the seasonal elements, trying to stay in shape for voice-over jobs. While seasonal allergies are inevitable for many, take a few things into consideration before stocking up on the meds.

If you suffer from nasal allergies, your voice may sound pinched off and your vocal cords might get inflamed from post-nasal drip. While allergies are seasonal, your voice-over work should not be! Try using a neti pot in the morning and evening to clear your nasal passageways instead of using nasal sprays that only dry out your vocal chords even more.

Common medicines that treat allergies actually harm your voice. Anti-histamines dry out the mucus membranes in your body, but your vocal chords need that lubrication! Over the counter anti-histamines and steroids may dry out your throat and actually make you more susceptible to upper respiratory infections. Use them sparingly!

Depending on how serious your allergies are, you might
want to try natural remedies that won't affect the quality of your voice. Eating locally produced raw honey is said to build up your body's resistance to airborne allergens that would normally send you into a fit of sneezes and coughs.

The neti pot, as mentioned above, replaced my nasal spray years ago. Dehumidifiers also purify the air in your home and create an environment that's inhospitable to dust mites and other allergens.

Spicy food will clear your nose and throat out in a jiffy! And your reaction to drink a lot of water afterward will keep you nice and hydrated.

Some general DON'Ts:
  • Don't blow your nose -- dab it instead
  • Don't cough too forcefully
  • Don't push through a voice-over gig if need your rest!
Do you have other solutions for spring allergies? Post 'em here -- I could use some pointers!


  1. I use the NeilMed Sinus Rinse every morning with either their pre-measured powder, or a mix of salt and baking power (1/4 tsp.) It really helps to keep my sinuses clear. My doctor also prescribed a Fluticasone Propionate nasal spray. I've used it daily for about 9 months and haven't noticed any dryness.

  2. I also just use warm water and salt in my neti pot, and it's surprising how effective such a simple solution can be!

    Thanks for the tip about Fluticasone Proplonate nasal spray. It's good to know what won't dry me out if I need a prescription this year.

    Best, Cat

  3. I use a neti pot as well as a natural product from Standard process called herbal throat spray to combat my allergies
    - Love the throat spray - totally gets rid of the "frog" in my throat before I step into my studio to record!

  4. I, too, can recommend the Neilmed Sinus Rinse bottle, as it just looked easier than the NetiPot. It's effective and very comfortable. ( )