How To Survive Cold and Flu Season as a Singer

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Cup of tea with box of tissues

It’s that time of year again…cold and flu season. (and now in 2020, we have COVID-19 to contend with too!)

People all around us are coughing, sneezing, blowing their noses and clearing their throats and we do NOT have time to get sick.

Why is it that the times of year that everyone around us is sick are the busiest seasons for us as performers?

Getting sick is an inconvenience to most people, but for us, it can literally mean the difference between booking that next audition and watching the production from the audience.

So how can we protect ourselves and make it through this season unscathed?

Real quick, before I share these tips, let’s get a little business out of the way.

Hi! I’m so glad you’re here!


I’m Kelly Gabel and I am a multi-passionate entrepreneur helping women to create their Purposefull life. 💙

I am so glad you are here and taking the first steps towards taking control of your auditions and more importantly, your audition mindset!

Have we met? Since you clicked on this post about vocal auditions, I want to make sure you know that I also have the following blogs to help you prepare to NAIL your future auditions:

Practical Stuff


The Secret Sauce


You’ll also want to grab my FREE Confident Audition Cheat Sheet where you will find my personal strategy for preparing for the practical and mindset aspects of auditions!

Come join us in the Triple Threat Therapy Community Facebook group as well!

Ok, back to the reason you clicked that link…Cold and Flu Season!

Here are a few of my best tips for staying healthy when it seems like the whole world is trying to give you their germs!

Never underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep.

During our busy seasons, we tend to burn the candle at both ends. We are up late each night at rehearsals, and in most theater towns, that includes a LOT of commuting across town in traffic, adding stress to the mix. We are also around lots of other people, many of whom are carrying germs that just can’t WAIT to attack us. Most likely, we are up early each day too, heading out to our day job…ya know, that thing we do each day to support our theater habit?

Cute snuggly buddy not required, but a bonus!

When we don’t get enough quality sleep, our immune system is weakened…so in addition to being exposed to more germs than normal, we have also crippled our natural defenses. The combination leads most of us to get sick at the “worst possible time” which typically means RIGHT before that big audition we’ve been preparing for, for weeks.

In our teens and twenties, our bodies can handle fewer hours of sleep without causing us to feel so tired the next day that we can barely function (which of course changes overnight when we hit 30!!) but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t having negative effects. If you find it difficult to fall asleep at night (I know I struggle with this after rehearsals when my brain is on creativity overdrive) find what works for you so that you can count on a good night’s rest.

Whether it’s supplements, essential oils (my favorite!), meditation, a hot shower…there are TONS of great options! If you need some suggestions, let me know in the comments and I’ll share some things that work well for me!

Make sure you eat right.

Drinking a protein shake at rehearsal
 Eating healthy at rehearsal!

OK, this one can be especially tough when we are running all over town. It’s really difficult to bring healthy, nutrient-dense foods around with you (most of them need to stay refrigerated) and continually stopping to buy healthy options can be time-consuming and pricey! We tend to end up eating fast food at least a few times a week, or not eating at all!

By not fueling our bodies well, we open ourselves up to all kinds of problems…including the tendency to get sick more easily and often. I am all about my superfoods because they are so easy for me to have on the go! If you see me around, I’ll probably be drinking a shake or eating a yummy chocolate protein bar.

I know that when I give my body the nutrition it needs, it gives me what I need: more energy to get through my crazy day, NO feeling of bloat or “food coma”, and the all-important strong immune system.

Wash your hands often

I don’t have a picture for this one…and it SHOULD be a no-brainer…washing your hands (or using hand sanitizer) isn’t just for bathroom trips. We touch SO many things we don’t even realize during the day and we are picking up germs all along the way. Your best defense is a good offense!


cute water bottle with hydration remindersYep, I said it. Drink your water. I know…I suck at it too, but it really does make a difference. Getting in your 8 glasses a day gives you more energy, makes your skin glow and helps to flush germs out of your body, thus boosting your immune system. (yes, I said thus…get over it LOL) If you are like me and all the fun gadgets help you achieve your goals…check out these awesome water bottles, etc.

OK you’re sick, now what?

I’m all about the power of positive thinking, but sometimes…we still get sick, right? So now what?! What if you are sick but you can’t reschedule your audition? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered there too.

Personal Steam Inhaler

personal steam inhaler

There are a bunch of different brands…some are a bit more expensive but have the added bonus of not needing to be plugged in, others are roughly $20-30 at any drug store or at Target, like the one here.

These are a great way to add much-needed moisture to your vocal cords when they are tired and your throat is dry and scratchy. Include this as a part of your vocal rest leading up to the audition and you will be in MUCH better vocal condition than just vocal rest alone.

Throat Coat Tea

I LOVE this stuff. I drink it all the time really, but especially when I’m sick or vocally fatigued. It tastes great, soothes my tired throat, and drinking a warm beverage out of my favorite mug is always comforting.

Never, EVER mention your cold/flu in the casting room

This last one is arguably the most important tip of all. Never make excuses for your audition and NEVER give them a reason to expect you NOT to do your best. Make the most of the opportunity and sing your heart out. Any music director worth his salt will be able to hear a stuffy nose or swollen throat, and truthfully, most of the time, our voices aren’t nearly as affected by our illness as we think they are.

Do you agree with my picks? Anything you want to add? Leave me a comment below and share!

* This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through an affiliate link, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. You can see my disclaimer here

To Your Purposefull Life,



About Kelly

I am a multi-passionate Faith-based entrepreneur, empowering female #solopreneurs in their Business Process and Automation Transformation! 💙

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