As a voice talent, as an actor, maintaining your health can be a real challenge especially when a variety of stronger than average cold and flu strains are circulating. We’re all susceptible to catching something that can put your voice and overall health at risk for up to two months or more after a simple trip to the local Supermarket, or an afternoon at the movie theatre. If you’re in contact with the public, you’re susceptible.
If you feel you’re coming down with something, please don’t hesitate to see your doctor to ensure you’re not putting others at risk. We often think we have a cold, when in fact we have the flu. Whether you have a cold or the flu you’re generally only contagious within the first 24 to 48 hours. Here’s a link to help you distinguish the difference between the two ailments: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/coldflu.htm A cold generally lasts only a week or two, while the flu can lasts 6 to 8 weeks or more.
Voice actors are most concerned with losing their voice by coming down with laryngitis, which seldom, if ever, is contagious. However, if your laryngitis is coupled with bronchitis, it can be contagious, so again—see your doctor as soon as possible to spare others, to save your voice, and to shorten the duration of your illness.
If you do have the flu, a dry, unproductive cough typically accompanies the chills, body aches, and a fever that turns on and off a few days at a time. The flu comes on very quickly and without warning. You can probably narrow it down to the very moment you got sick, but a cold can be a bit more gradual.
Beyond getting more rest, managing your symptoms with natural remedies can help avert added downtime that may keep you from bookings and performing at your best. I’ve found the following natural remedies to be particularly successful in lessening the discomfort of colds, allergies, and the flu alike.
Emergen-C is half the solution I refer to as my “flu bomb.” If you find yourself coming down with something, empty your favorite flavor Emergen-C(I prefer Tropical or Raspberry) and an (orange) Airborne into the same glass. Add water, hot or cold. Allow the ingredients to dissolve completely, then drink the entire contents. It tastes great and, if you caught the illness within the first 48 hours of your initial symptoms, you could very well prevent coming down with a cold. At the very least, the duration of whatever is trying to take over will run its course in a fraction of the time you might ever expect.
Follow-up is key. Be sure to repeat this “flu bomb” formula at least once more before you go to bed, and continue this regimen twice a day for two to three days. Then follow with one “flu bomb” a day for the remainder of a solid week—EVEN if you feel better. This tends to work well for allergies as well in many people.
If you find you have a cough, as simple as it sounds, at least 3 to 4 tablespoons of honey in a mug of hot water suppresses and soothes what ails you. Add a slice of lemon as you see fit. Personally, I found the honey alone in a mug of hot water does the most good for me while I’m in the booth, whether I’m under the weather or not, but to each his own.
Zincdries you up when you need it, while vitamin C has the opposite effect. C allows your sinuses to open up and self-moisturize when your eyes, throat, and sinuses are too dry. If your eyes and/or nose are runny, try 50 to 60 mg of zinc. In most (minor) cases, this will help you to get through an hour-long recording session, for example, without incident. Nothing shy of miraculous here. Again, if you have allergies, zinc can handle a world of woes.
And my most recent discovery has been a remarkable product called Sambucus Black Elderberry Extract Spray. Three quick sprays in the back of your throat effectively coats, soothes, and gently elevates your immune system without nasty side effects. Not only will you experience an almost immediate improvement, you’ll stop a sore throat from the onset and head off health issues at the pass. Their cough syrup is exceptional, as well, and comes in sugar-free, too.
In a nutshell, if you honestly don’t feel well, and you’re convinced you won’t be able to recreate what you did on your initial audition or session, or your auditions aren’t up to your standard professional best, then do the responsible thing, and book out with your agents. If you start to feel under the weather, pay close attention to your symptoms and see a doctor. Take care of yourself, get lots of rest, and do your best to stay healthy. It’s the professional thing to do.
Your continual mission as a professional voiceover is to create an exceptional body of work by submitting better and better auditions. If you do, you’ll instill confidence in those most likely to book you. Remember: it’s not necessarily the best audition that books the gig… it’s ONE of the best auditions submitted. If you consistently deliver your very best, producers, agents and casting directors will come to rely on you as the professional you honestly are. And you’ll ultimately gain greater confidence from the experience as well!
Copyright © 2019 by Kate McClanaghan, All Rights Reserved.