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How to Deal with Spring Allergies as a Voiceover Actor

How to Deal with Spring Allergies as a Voiceover Actor
Photo Source: Twenty20

Yesterday, I woke up with a horribly sore throat...in the middle of May. I had swollen glands and red streaks down my throat. This was, of course, a result of sleeping with my air conditioner on. (I should have know better—this happens all the time but I can’t sleep without a heavy down blanket, so my room has to be ice cold.) None of this is ideal for a girl who makes her living as a professional voiceover artist. Especially considering I had an hour to get to an audition for a very well-known animated children’s show, so I knew I had to fix things quickly!

If you’re also dealing with spring allergies or need to get mic-ready before a recording session or big audition, here are the steps I take. 

1. Opt for over-the-counter.
Most allergy pills will make you drowsy—not ideal for an audition or recording session! But allergy medication that contains the antihistamine fexofenadine (like Allegra and Mucinex) has always worked well for me in terms of keeping me alert and ready to take on the claustrophobia of a recording studio and stuffy nose-free. 

Ibuprofen is another great, mild way to help deal with swelling and a sore throat, and one you likely already have you in your medicine cabinet. If you’ve got swollen glands and red streaks down your throat, it likely means your vocal chords are also inflamed. As an anti-inflammatory, 800mg of ibuprofen is an easy way to deal with swelling and soreness. (Just make sure to check with your medical team before taking anything!) 

2. Sing it out. 
Even though I learned this trick at drama camp over ten years ago, it’s still one I use regularly when I’m feeling phlegmy. Sing your E scales! Sing the letter “E” all the way up and down the octaves. You don’t have to be a singer to do this—it can help anyone who has chest congestion as it really helps to drudge up phlegm.

READ: How To Prepare For Recording Your Voiceover Demo

3. Gargle.
Combine water and a lot of sea salt in a mug, throw that baby in the microwave for 30 seconds, and then gargle as much as you can. Gargling with salt water can help to soothe a sore, scratchy throat and can even help clear allergens from your nasal membranes. 

If you’re not into the idea of DIY salt water, I also really like GoGargle. The tablets contain honey, chamomile, aloe, and zinc, all of which are super-soothing and moisturizing ingredients. 

4. Drink up. 
Tea is a no-brainer when you have a sore throat, but you shouldn’t just reach for any old tea. A favorite of theater kids everywhere? Throat Coat. It contains slippery elm and marshmallow root, which have been used for centuries in eastern medicine for exactly this purpose. However, if you want something really fresh, head over to Chinatown and visit an herbalist. (I like the Lin Sisters in New York City.) An herbalist can help you get straight to the root...marshmallow root that is! They’ll walk you through all the steps of using freshly dried herbs to sooth your throat and allergies.

5. Get a facial. 
If you’re not running off to an audition or a recording session, hop into your neighborhood spa for a facial. (Since it’s technically for work, it’s also a tax write-off!) They will likely give you a lymphatic massage (which you can also perform on yourself). Best of all, they’ll steam the crap out of your face, which will help with your sinuses. 

I used to rely on a humidifier in my room every night until I realized my inability to deep clean it every month was actually making me more susceptible to illness. I also didn’t feel like it was doing anything for me: I always wanted the steam to go directly into my face, but couldn’t find one that also allowed me to lie down and fall asleep. But for part of that hour-long facial, you’re getting the full power of a facial steamer to help with those stuffy sinuses. 

I hope these tips and tricks help keep your throat feeling glorious during this crazy allergy season we are currently experiencing in New York! Just remember that those classic hot, humid NYC summers happen to be great for vocal chords, no matter how heavily the smell of garbage hangs in the air. Take that, smoggy and dry L.A.! 

Linnea Sage is an actor, voice-over artist, writer, and producer in NYC. She currently stars in the comedy series “WILDCATS” on the Fullscreen Network, as well as voicing superheroes in the Marvel video game, Avengers Academy. Follow her @LinneaSage on Twitter and @Linnayeahhh on Instagram. 

Vocal chords all set? Check out Backstage’s voiceover audition listings! 

The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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