Tiny irritants can leave you speechless
Pollen, mold, and more pollen! These environmental allergens are highly prevalent in the Gainesville area and when ‘tis the season local residents can have a huge problem. Allergies are the body’s abnormal immune response to things in the environment that would otherwise be harmless. Many allergy sufferers are familiar with symptoms like coughing, sneezing, congestion, and itchy eyes. But, did you know allergies can take also a toll on your voice?
When you inhale, allergens come into direct contact with your vocal folds potentially causing inflammation and irritation. Coughing and post nasal drip can further irritate the pharynx and larynx. As you cough, your vocal folds forcefully come together and air is quickly exhaled from the lungs in an attempt to clear your airway. This stress on your laryngeal mechanism can cause hoarseness and even vocal discomfort.
There are several options available to protect your voice during allergy season. First, be gentle on your vocal cords. Avoid chronic coughing, and instead try to gently clear your throat or cough softly. Antihistamines are a common over-the -counter remedy for allergy symptoms, but they can have drying effects on your vocal cords. Instead, you might try allergy medications that don’t hinder mucus production to prevent or treat symptoms. Additionally, medications that are only active locally, such as nasal steroid sprays, can be effective without drying out your vocal cords. If you’re having concerns related to your allergies and voice, see your doctor for additional information and other treatment options.