You’re doing everything right to keep your voice healthy. You don’t overuse it. You keep any acid reflux under control. You do exercises to keep it strong. Despite all that, you still have hoarseness. What’s causing the problem? As it turns out, it might be allergies.
In the Charlotte area, springtime allergies are often caused by tree pollens, grass pollens, and molds. Symptoms include sneezing, nasal stuffiness, a runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, and coughing.
Allergies can affect your voice in several ways, and yes, they can even cause you to lose your voice. First, allergens themselves can irritate and enflame the vocal cords, which can cause hoarseness. Second, the congestion from a stuffed nose or postnasal drip can make it difficult to breathe easily. Finally, even your allergy medicines can affect your voice. Antihistamines dry up the mucus in your body. While this helps relieve congestion, it also dries up the layer of mucus that protects your vocal cords. If your vocal cords are dry they can stiffen or inflame, which can make your voice raspy.
So what can you do to protect your voice from allergens? The first thing is to avoid allergens and keep your home as allergen-free as possible. Keep your windows closed during peak pollen times. Wash your sheets in hot water once a week. Vacuum or run an air filter regularly.
If you still need medicine, use medicines that won’t affect your mucus levels.
“There are many treatment options for allergies,” CEENTA Otolaryngologist S. Brett Heavner, MD, said. “For professional voice users, topical medications like nasal steroids and nasal antihistamines seem to work better since they have less of a drying effect on the throat and voice.”
Nasal steroid sprays such as Flonase, Rhinocort, and Nasacort are effective in treating allergies. Some pills, such as Singulair and other leukotrienes, can be taken at night and won’t dry out your vocal cords the way antihistamines would.
Some patients with severe allergies may qualify for immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a treatment system where patients are given shots, drops, or tablets of the substance they are allergic to in gradually-increasing doses. This helps patients increase their tolerance to those allergens. It won’t cure the allergy, but it will reduce your symptoms.
If you follow these steps you can keep your allergies at bay and help keep your voice clear and strong.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. Dr. Heavner practices out of CEENTA’s SouthPark and Steele Creek offices. To schedule an appointment with him or any of our ear, nose, and throat doctors, call 704-295-3000.
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