We all joke about being an actor and the “hurry up and wait” syndrome. Before the project starts, there is a flurry of activity, you’re auditioning, you’re going to call backs, meeting people. Then crickets. Weeks later you get that call “Yeah, we’d love to offer you the role”. You are stoked.
You start learning your lines, doing the work about your character so you’re prepped for that first day on set, and you’re hanging out by crafty. Then they call you for your scene. It’s super emotional, you have to cry, yell, emote all this emotion. The director calls cut, says you were fabulous, and this goes on for a few takes.
You’re back in your dressing room and you start to get this tickle in the back of your throat. OH NO!!! You try to talk and you can’t. No sound is coming out and worse yet, it hurts! What happened?
Unless you’re working on your craft every day, sometimes we get complacent and forget to take care of ourselves. This means warming up prior to going on set. I’m not going to talk about warm-up exercises, because at this point, it’s too late, we’re in panic mode. We need remedies!
Now, I have to sing for this upcoming roll and I am NOT a singer. I wanted to be prepared, so I decided to do some research and this is what I’ve found out:
- Gargle with salt water. Helps reduce swelling in the throat
- Steam it out. You don’t need a full on sauna experience to get the benefits of this. There are easy at home options like placing your head over a steaming bowl of water. For added help, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to make it more soothing.
- Chamomile tea. Helpful because it’s a natural pain-killer and can helps your muscles relax. Add a spoonful of honey for an extra boost of antibacterial properties.
- Sprays and Lozenges. Keeping your throat moist is the key. Look for brands that have menthol or eucalyptus for a numbing effect.
- Chicken soup. Not only making you feel warm and cozy, but the sodium in the broth may have anti-inflammatory properties as well as the warm feeling going down.
- Fluids. Staying hydrated will help keep your mucous membranes moist. Room temperature water is best.
- Warm lemon water. Helps dull the pain. (As long as you don’t have acid reflux then stay away from all things citrus!)
- Apple cider vinegar in hot water. (But again, if you suffer from acid reflux, stay away!)
- STOP TALKING! Only talk when you absolutely have to in a quiet voice, but not a whisper. Whispering can do more harm than good for your vocal chords.
Looking for answers online offers a plethora of natural remedies you may also want to try. If you have any suggestions or tried and true remedies, I’d love to hear about them so I can be prepared next time.
I am not a medical doctor, nor play one on tv, so do seek medical help if the pain persists.