Whether you are a weekend warrior on the slopes or heading out to watch Sunday night football, even a few minutes of exposure to cold winter temperatures can be harmful on your pipes.
So, if you are planning on heading out in this upcoming cold snap, venturing to a football game or hitting the high altitude Rocky Mountain resorts, you should definitely pay attention.
Cold weather is particularly harsh on your voice, throat, and sinuses.
Cold air is dryer and therefore sucks out the moisture from your ENT system that lubricates your vocal folds, throat, and nasal passages. The lack of moisture in the air can cause a scratchy throat, sinus irritation, and even nose bleeds.
To help prevent or curb the damage caused by cold winter air, follow these five tips–your voice will thank you.
1. Invest in a Humidifier
Cranking up the heat in your home will make the air warmer in the winter, however it will not replace the moisture needed to hydrate your body. A humidifier will help keep your home at a comfortable, happy temperature and humidity level ideal for preserving even the most valuable voices. *If you are a professional singer, lawyer, broadcaster, or teacher (if you use your voice professionally), a humidifier is an absolute necessity.
Children can be particularly susceptible to the woes of the dry winter air, so to keep your child from developing a night time cough, keep a humidifier in their bedroom.
2. Keep Soothing Lozenges in Your Pockets
Whether indoor or outdoors, always have a soothing lozenge handy. Stash them in your jacket pockets, your purse, or car so that you always have some within reach. We recommend lozenges with throat-soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredients like licorice root, honey, pineapple, or slippery elm.
3. Keep Your Mouth and Nose Covered!
The easiest way to prevent the problems caused by cold winter air is to keep as much of it out of your system as possible. By keeping your nose and mouth covered, your body will filter and warm the air as it enters your nasal passage and mouth.
4. Stay Hydrated
Because winter air is so dry, staying hydrated is even more important…and more difficult. Try to double your daily intake of water and take regular breaks to hydrate if you are outside performing physical activities.
How Much Water Should You Consume?
- Adult men should aim to consume 10 glasses of water a day.
- Adult women should aim for six to eight glasses of water per day.
- In colder months, increase your intake by 50% (more if you are active and outdoors).
- Keep water on you at all times if possible and try to stay away from alcohol and carbonated beverages–even if you are outside in playoff football.
Which brings us to number five….
5. Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
If you can’t resist the temptation to grab a few beers at the game or a hot morning coffee, try to have one glass of water per alcoholic or caffeinated beverage to compensate.
For more tips on how to care for your professional voice and all ENT health questions, contact the Colorado Voice Clinic.