For singers your voice is your baby. Your identity. So when something comes along to cause it to not play ball, it can quickly become your enemy.
This time of Year you're almost guaranteed to get a cold. You may say "I've had the flu jab so I'm set." Yes, its a preventative, but it doesn't 100% guarantee you won't catch a cold, or worse the flu, and as a vocalist its the last thing you need.
So the first signs of a cold, as we know can be a litte tickle at the back of the throat, sneezing/ tickly nose, which we tend to ignore as we don't want to give life to the very thing we want to avoid. Don't ignore it, just get on it!
First things first. Hydration. Hydration. Hydration. Make sure you're drinking enough water. Yep, boring, we hear it all the time, but during a cold your body needs a bit more to help thin the mucus and help kill the virus. Keeping hydrated when you have a cold helps prevent the mucus you'll be producing, from becoming thick and sticky, keeping thick mucus from your airways more easily.
A symptom of dehydration is thickening of mucus, which only works against you when you're trying to recover from a cold. Best way, is to sip throughout the day. So lastminute.com water drinking won't give you the results you're looking for, especially when you're needing your voice to sing. I believe the saying is "Pee Clear, Sing Clear."
Here's a list of remedies that have either worked for me or worked other singers I know.
Lemon, Honey and Ginger.
First Defense Nasal Spray
Boiled Ginger water
Honey. lemon, water with a pinch of cayenne pepper (warm or room temperature)
NeilMed Sinus Rinse
Sterimar nasal sprays
Gargling with warm salt water (sea salt)
Steaming (with water only)
Tumeric, honey, Lemon and water
Vitamin C and Zinc
Paracetamol (check with your GP)
Ibuprofen (check with your GP)
I am not a doctor so always seek professional advise. I highly reccommed you see an ENT doctor if you are suffering for over a week and your symptoms aren't improving. If you are someone who regularly uses their voice for work, seeing an ENT doctor annually for a check up is wise.
Hoarseness, lower sounding voice and voice loss can devlelop because your cold has got to your larynx which causes inflammation and swelling in the vocal chords. The more inflammed your vocal chords are the slower they vibrate than normal, hence making a lower sound. When there is inflammation you can bet there is more mucus, as to why is so important to keep it nice and runny.
Having good vocal hygene in general with or with out a cold/flu is vital so make it good practice.
If you have a full blown cold with sticky thick mucus, I would also look into the foods you're eating. For example I stay away from Milk as it thicken mucus (not helpful).
If you can avoid singing while you have a cold take the opportunity.
Fact is we do need mucus. It's just the sticky thick kind we need to avoid for good voice production.
Hope this is a helpful link for you to rid of your colds a bit quicker. should I hear of furher remedies I'll update so you can give it a go.