What options do we singers have when we’re struck by a head cold or allergies? We might choose from one of these two extremes:
- One is to simply ignore it and therefore suffer and put ourselves at risk for a sinus infection.
- Or we could use medicines that totally dry out our mucous membranes and make it dangerous to sing all while also making us drowsy.
But there is a middle way: nasal irrigation.
Nasal irrigation is the process of sending a saline solution into your nasal cavities to rinse out excessive mucous. Often this is done with a Neti pot, water bottle or bulb syringe shooting water into a nostril. The water goes up that one nostril and out the other. Excess mucous and allergens are rinsed out, and inflammation is reduced.
I first learned about nasal irrigation from NPR, which featured a story about an opera singer who uses nasal irrigation. It took me several years until I finally tried it, and it worked beautifully. I had been suffering from such severe allergies that I was feeling dizzy, but I felt much better once I began using irrigation. I also have not had a single cold since then, which is a pretty good track record (I usually get a cold twice a year).