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What’s Good For Coughs and Colds?

February 1, 2020

It’s that time of year, and people often ask me what I do when I have to sing when I’m not well. Hopefully most people are not in the situation where they HAVE to sing when they’re unwell, but here are some things I and my singers find useful.


I’m not a massive fan of using lots of ‘sweets’ and things that are full of sugar, but here are a couple of things that I have found to be useful to have around.

Vocal Zones are great to have in your back pocket. I wouldn’t use them habitually, but if you have a tickly throat and you need to sing, they’re useful to have around.

One of my choir members recently introduced me to these Bronchostop Pastilles, which I have found useful as well.


Steam inhalation is something your doctor will tell you to do, and is good for general voice care, as well as soothing the symptoms of colds. It can be a bit inconvenient when all you want to do is sit on the sofa and sulk (like me) so this cheap steam inhaler can be very useful to have around. You just pop some hot water in the cup, pop the lid back on and breathe in.


I find that herbal tea can be very soothing. If you can stand it, it’s also hydrating as well. I like lemon and ginger tea to sooth my throat and give me respite from coughing.

I also find that I start to feel sick when taking lots of medicine etc. A peppermint tea is a nice way of soothing tummy upsets.


Obviously, I am not a doctor, but these are things that I find useful when symptoms are particularly bad, or to aid sleep.

First Defence – use this at the earliest signs of a cold and you might avoid a nastier infection. This is a nasal spray.

Another nasal spray that’s useful to have in the cupboard is Sudafed. Great for relieving congestion when you really really can’t breathe. Again, personally I like to use pharmaceuticals sparingly, but that’s personal choice.

Chloraseptic Throat Spray. This is a numbing spray that can soothe those really sore throats. When you’re struggling to swallow and feel like you’re swallowing razor blades, this really is a godsend. I like the cherry flavour – I find it breaks up the constant lemon and honey! But it is available in lemon, menthol, blackcurrant and some others I think.

I hope you have found some of that useful. As I say, the main advice you will get from your doctor if you have a cold or viral infection, is rest, steam inhalation and taking in plenty of fluids. Much of this is to help you manage the symptoms.

Stay well!

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