Practice Good Health Habits To Avoid Getting Sick.
We rarely give much thought to our throat unless it begins to hurt, feel dry, or make no sounds when we wake up. When this happens, we go from not giving our throats much thought to not giving much thought to anything else, especially when we feel pain every time we swallow. Then we run around looking for something to take to help it return to normal.
Most of us are getting better at preparing to head off as many germs as possible during flu and cold season. We build up our immune system, get a flu shot, wash our hands more often, and learn to direct our coughs and sneezes into our bent arms.
Let’s face it; you can’t be a part of the human race and not come into contact with all sorts of germs and people who are sick. Practicing good health habits is the best way to avoid getting sick.
Six Ways to Keep Your Throat Healthy
Your throat is a finely tuned structure of tissues, nerves, glands, and blood vessels. It needs looking after. If you overuse some of the delicate organs and tissues of the throat, you’ll end up with problems, or even damage, to those organs and tissues.
Learning how to take care of your throat is easy, and in most cases, the benefits are well worth the effort. Here are six of my favorite ways for keeping your throat healthy:
1. Protect Your Throat From Cold Temperatures
Get in the habit of wearing a scarf around your neck to keep the throat area warm. Do you know that the neck is one of the most overlooked sources of heat loss? Anywhere from 40-50% of our body heat can be lost from the surface of the head and neck.
Changes in extreme temperatures, such as going from a heated car into the cold outside and vice versa, should be avoided when possible.
2. Avoid Sharing Eating Utensils
Don’t ever drink from the same glass, cup, or bottle that someone else is using, as you may be at risk for cross-contamination. The same is true for sharing eating utensils and even napkins.
3. Keeping Your Toothbrush Germ Free
One source of infection that most people overlook is the toothbrush. Left overnight, it can be a potential source of a problem for the throat and mouth. Every morning, before brushing the teeth, soak your toothbrush in a glass of hot salt water (a teaspoon will suffice) to help disinfect the toothbrush and keep it clean.
Replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head regularly. The ADA recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months and sooner if the brush becomes frayed.
It’s also a good idea to store your toothbrush upright and avoid storing it in closed containers. Keep your toothbrush in a dry climate instead of a moist environment that is conducive to microorganisms.
4. Gargle With Saltwater
Gargle every night with a mixture of warm water and salt. Just a pinch of salt will do. During cold and flu season, this habit will help to disinfect the mouth and throat.
It is a timeless remedy — your grandmother probably knew the benefits of making this a habit. If you catch a sore throat early enough, saltwater will give you fast relief.
Saltwater can also clear a stuffy nose. Lightly sniff the above mixture into each nostril. You’ll instantly begin breathing better through the nose.
5. Use Honey and Ginger to Protect Your Throat
One of the very best ways to protect the throat is with ginger juice and honey. After a good brush in the morning, squeeze a little fresh ginger juice (3-4 ml) with 5 ml of honey, and see for yourself what a good insurance policy this is for protecting your throat all day.
I make my ginger juice by boiling 2-3 slices of natural ginger (found in the vegetable section), then cool it slightly.
I have also used turmeric. Take 1/2 cup of hot water and add a pinch of salt and 5 grams of turmeric powder to it. Drink this every night during cold and flu season to protect your throat.
Another tip for relieving sore throat pain is to gargle with warm water and cayenne pepper. Add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper to a cup of warm water. Stir just before gargling as the pepper tens to settle at the bottom of the cup.
Gargle every 15 minutes for about 30 – 40 minutes or so. If you happen to swallow a few drops, don’t worry. It may burn a little, but it won’t hurt you. Cayenne Pepper is a natural antibiotic.
6. Vocal Warm-Ups
Daily vocal warm-ups are a must for singers, speakers, doctors, actors, and the like. However, not just any warm-ups will do. Some warm-ups can do more damage to the throat than not engaging in any at all.
Slow, gentle humming on comfortable tones are excellent warm-ups. Feel for vibrations across the mask area. To keep the lips loose and relaxed, include the buzzing sound (buzz your lips the same way you would on a baby’s belly to make the baby giggle).
Sigh lightly on a soft “ahhhh,” feeling completely relaxed. Even yawning is an excellent warm-up for the voice.
Imitate a siren. Beginning on a low tone, slide your voice up, through the break, and up into the head voice, and back down until you reach a low tone. Use plenty of breath support and keep the sound easy and relaxed. Using the vowel “Ee” will help to keep the tone forward.
Note:A voice should be unforced, natural, and flowing. It should be produced effortlessly. Keep the throat well hydrated by drinking room temperature water.
By following the above six tips, you will have more control over keeping your throat healthy. Preventative measures are always the best. Remember to stock up on hand sanitizer wipes for those shopping carts and gas pumps.
Be sure to get a good night’s sleep. We need at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep to maintain good health. And make time to exercise every day. Find a form of aerobic exercise that you enjoy, such as dancing, tennis, walking, swimming, or pilates.
Keep your distance from people who are sick; You never know if a nearby cough or sneeze is because of allergies or something more serious like the flu.
Begin now to form better habits daily. Take good care of yourself. Should you have questions about throat problems