Stay healthy, my friends!
-- Alexandra Plattos Sulack
We are well into flu season, and possibly (probably) on the verge of COVID-19 season, so here are a few tips and reminders to help us stay healthy!
The moisture level in the air is a big deal! Every time we inhale, air is passing through our nose, throat, and right past our vocal folds. The air is then either helping to hydrate all of those passageways, or it is drying them out. It’s important to monitor the humidity level of your home. If your HVAC system doesn’t measure humidity, you can purchase a hygrometer from most marketplaces or hardware stores, which will give you a general sense.
Here is the recommended indoor humidity levels based on outdoor temperatures.
If your indoor humidity level is too high, it can promote the growth of allergens such as mildew and mold. If your indoor humidity level is too low, you can suffer inflamed sinuses, scratchy/sore throat, dry skin, dry lips, etc.
How do I increase the humidity in my home? Well, with a humidifier! There are all sorts of them—ones for large rooms, one for medium rooms, one for small rooms, travel sizes, personal sizes, etc. Here are two of our favorites: Air Innovations, Bell & Howell
2. Be conscious of where the forced air is blowing
If you lived with forced air, take a look at where the vents are, and if it is blowing directly toward your face at night. If it is, you might experience inflamed sinuses and a scratchy/sore throat from getting whacked in the face with hot, dry air for hours at a time. Consider changing the direction of the vent or altering the placement of your bed.
3. Wash your hands
Help to slow the spread of germs and wash your hands! Here are the 5 steps to proper hand washing:
4. Drink plenty of fluids
While the air is dryer around us, you might need to increase your water intake to compensate. Don’t like plain water? Consider adding a slice of lemon, cucumber, mint, or a splash of apple juice—Apple juice is the best option if you suffer from reflux.
Shorter days and longer nights throw off our rhythm. Be kind to and strict with yourself to head to bed at a set time and to wake up at a set time. If you take naps during the day, try to limit them to 30 minutes or less so they do not affect your nighttime sleeping. Also, try to avoid stimulants like caffeine and nicotine prior to bed.
6. Wake up!
Do you have trouble waking up when it’s dark? Me, too. Did you know that there are sunrise alarm clocks (at varying price points) that can help? They gradually increase the amount of light in the room until your set alarm time. Check out this one.
7. Cover your cough
When you have to cough this season, cover your cough. Consider coughing into the crook of your elbow, the back of the hand, or a tissue—avoid coughing into the palm of your hand, which you will inevitably immediately use to grab something and transfer germs. Dispose of tissues immediately.
8. Feed yourself
The best way to fight off illness is to take care of your body. Give your body well-balanced meals to nourish and energize it. Look for a variety of nutrient packed foods that suit your diet: vegetables, fruits, high-quality meats, complex carbs, etc.
9. Have you thought about vitamins?
Consider adding a daily vitamin! Oftentimes our diets are unbalanced for a variety of reasons. Adding a multivitamin to your daily routine can help ensure you are receiving the nutrients that may be lacking from you diet.
10. Be happy & social
It’s pretty easy to catch the “winter blues,” or in other words, seasonal depression. Watch out for it, and take care of yourself. Make time to do things that energize you and make you happy. Make time to see other human beings face-to-face, and make time to get out of your house. (As a classic introvert, this is difficult for me, but if I’m intentional about it, I’m generally grateful and happy that I found the social time.)
11. Stay home from work, school, and lessons
If you are feeling funky, think about staying home. One of the best ways to avoid spreading illness is by limiting your exposure to others if you are contagious. While the CDC and WHO are working to determine the incubation period of COVID-19, we do know that the flu and common cold have an incubation period of 1-4 days, but you can be contagious for up to 7 days. When in doubt, try to stay home.
12. Seek medical help if symptoms worsen
If your symptoms become significantly worse after 3 days, especially if your fever subsides and then returns, seek professional medical advice. The flu and common cold leave your body susceptible to secondary infections like pneumonia.
We believe in combining technical and pedagogical expertise with a deep love of voice and singing. At The Voice Lab in Chicago, our teachers bring a diverse singing and voice care background ranging from operatic to pop, language studies, songwriting, and voice science research.