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Beating a bad head cold

Posted By: Richard Maclemale

Beating a bad head cold - 01/04/08 07:14 PM

I've got this head cold, and it's bad to the point of keeping me up at night. I've got a gig in a week and although I think I'll be recovered by then, I don't know for sure. Does anyone have any tips from recovering from a head cold faster? I don't have a fever, no aches and pains, just a head full of clogged sinuses. Any tips appreciated.
Posted By: Emily Sanders

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/04/08 08:50 PM

HOPe you feel better soon smile

Drink LOTS of water!!! Citrus juice - orange, lime, lemon- helps some people as well. Unfortunately, colds have to run their course...but you can rest a lot and drink plenty fo water...that's what I do.

I also take the homeopathic medicine called Oscillicosinum ( not sure if I spelled it correctly) and that helps me fight off colds. Last, I take 1000 mgs of Vitamin C every day with a multi vitamin, as well as Zinc. Many people believe that Zinc helps you to fight infection and sickness.

Feel better!!


Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/04/08 09:53 PM

Hi Richard. It just has to run it's course. Lets face it there is no cure for the common cold. However vitamin C is good at helping to speed up recovery and help restore immune system. Paracetamol is good at reducing teperature and helping with headaches. Decongestant tabs or spray will help unblock nose and clear throat. A salt water gargle will also help clean throat and relieve inflamation, it is a mild antiseptic. Honey and lemon juice mixed together helps stop a tickly cough.
Hope you get well soon.
Posted By: Larry Williams

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/05/08 01:57 AM

Whenever I feel one coming on, I start taking something called Echinacea and Golden Seal. Add lots and lots of water along with lots of citris juices and Vitamin C.

I don't know about "beating" the cold, but the above seems to help both with severity and with longevity of it. Maybe it's just mind over matter and it doesn't do much medically proveable, but it does seem to help - for whatever reason.
Posted By: Richard Maclemale

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/05/08 04:39 AM

Thanks, all. There are several drugs I know I can take, but there seems to be a price tag with them... ie, load up on pseudofed and the next morning your congestion is twice as bad. Hey Big Jim, do they sell sudafed and actifed in Scotland? Here in the US, you can buy it over the counter, but you have to show your driver's license and sign something. Apparently the youths were buying cases of the stuff and distilling it down to help make crystal meth. These kids, I tell ya.

I shall try to drink lots of water and take lots of vitamin C, though. In addition to whatever drugs I need to take to get to sleep at night. Man does this SUCK.
Posted By: Richard Maclemale

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/05/08 04:40 AM

Originally Posted by Lwilliam
Whenever I feel one coming on, I start taking something called Echinacea and Golden Seal.

Where do you buy that? I've never heard of it...
Posted By: Larry Williams

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/05/08 08:04 AM

Originally Posted by Richard Maclemale
Originally Posted by Lwilliam
Whenever I feel one coming on, I start taking something called Echinacea and Golden Seal.

Where do you buy that? I've never heard of it...

Most Health Food or Natural Food stores carry it in the herb section. I get it locally in several stores in L.A. You may even find it in a good vitamin store. For instance, even the big vitamin chain, General Nutrition Centers (, stocks it.

Also, I just tried googling it under "Echinacea Goldenseal" and came up with dozens on on-line places to get it. There's even a book sold on Amazon about it as a remedy for colds and flu.

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/05/08 05:18 PM

Hi Richard you can buy both over the counter but only in small quantities. The pharmacist has to personally give it to you just to make sure it is kosher.
Posted By: Steve Vaclavik

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/08/08 05:09 AM

Hey Richard,

Sorry you're feeling bad....I've been down that road just a few times in the past year. (Just thought I was getting rid of something I got around Christmas and now feel something else strange coming on.)

Can't say that I can add anything to the info you've received. I take echinacea and vitamin C and drink a lot of water. I also drink a tea called 'Throat Coat' that's been referred to here a couple of times. I've been able to get the echinacea and Throat Coat at our local Publix.

Be careful with the decongestants as they can dry you out too much and affect the throat.

Where ya playing?

Steve V
Posted By: Diane Jessurun

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/13/08 05:26 AM

Ahhh I am right there with ya'. I Cantor at church tomorrow morning and am currently sniffling away!

My advice though - Vitamin C, and try Cold Eeze lozenges. When you shower make it hot and lightly breathe in the steam through your nose. You can also heat up water in the microwave and do the same, just be careful. Also Nyquil at night and extra sleep should help.

Good luck!
Posted By: Heidi Thompson

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/13/08 09:55 AM

When the Vitamins, Zinc, Zycam, Garlic capsules, herbs, etc. still haven't gotten rid of the congestion, there is the old trick of buying eucalyptus oil and then putting a tablespoon of it into a kettle of boiling water on the stove. Then, place your face above the kettle to breath the steam and use a towel over your head to create your own steam room environment. Breath the eucalyptus into your lungs and sinuses. It can be a great help to your singing.

I also bought a small Vicks vaporizer and placed the eucalyptus oil in that instead of Vicks.

Best of luck. I'm taking a ton of vitamin C, some garlic capsules and Emergency right now myself!

Posted By: Lynman Bacolor

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/13/08 02:26 PM

Hi Richard

Im the doc here. All of post here seems fine and effective.
The first post is from Emily. Water is still the best. It will liquiefies all the mucus in your congested sinuses.

Big Jim is also right. Decongestant is still the mainstay of treatment especially in kids. The most effective is ephedrine but I think it was pulled out already in the market. WEre still using Phenylpropanolamine here. 2-3 times a day makes your congestion away. But the body builders are abusing this medicine so I hope it still there in the market.

LArry suggestions also works. Natural treatment has its place in the medical world. Actually there so many plants that we can use to relieve the congestion. But no one will surpass the marketing ploy of the cold medicine available in the market.

The rest like Dianne and Heiedi looks fine also and there so many studies that support their aged old remedy of colds.

Hope you are not suffering from Allergic Rhinitis because that illness is similar to asthma where simple dust or pollen can trigger a bouts of attack. Anyway Anti allergy is still the best.

In General theres no way you can prevent colds because the same virus that causes this illness change costume all the time like a rock artist and your body never recognize it every time he do his act inside your body.

There some conspiracy theory that this colds was there so that we all have reason not to work and stay at home and feel how life is so beautiful when you daily job is stressing you.

Just enjoy next time your having one and be proud because your immune system are doing their job.


Posted By: Richard Maclemale

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/13/08 05:51 PM

Thanks, all. Steve, my gig is at Tanya and Matt's... thanks for the tip! Not expecting a big crowd, because it's Sunday night and NFL playoffs are on, but it's good to get out and play. If I do a decent job, perhaps I'll be asked to come back. And it's also why I'm blowing off the JPF showcase - I don't need to be sitting in a smoky bar for 5 hours and getting up and singing there.

I'm bumming, though, because I don't know how my voice will hold up. On Friday, just to see where I was at, I set up my gear and ran through my first set (of three.) I can hit all the notes, my voice sounds OK but not great, but by the last song I started to get a bit of gravel. If I had been performing Friday night, I think I would have done OK on the first set, gotten through the second set, and had a real problem with the third.

But that was two days ago. I've been pumping up on vitamin C, getting lots of rest, drinking lots of water, taking some of the supplements suggested here, and doing a little bit of vocal warmup exercises.

I would have to guess that I'll be struggling in the third set tonight. But I could be wrong. If I totally had no voice, I'd obviously cancel, but I think I can do it. You HATE to cancel a gig, any gig, especially at a place you've never played. But I'm thinking the third set might end up having a lot more solo piano music than the first two. smile

Funny thing - I just went out and bought a better piano stand, as well as a gig bag for my keyboard. My wife hasn't seen it on the Visa yet. Mwa ha ha ha!

Anyway, gig is tonight. I will post how it went either when I get home or sometime tomorrow. I appreciate all the advice in this thread, and if the gig goes well, it will be partially because of your help, so thanks in advance! But I won't blame you folks if I tank. smile

Posted By: Mike Dunbar

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/13/08 05:51 PM

If I've got a packed nose and a gig coming up, I snort warm salt water. A pinch of salt dissolved in a warm glass of filtered water, I'll snort a bit up each side, blow it out, and continue several times. The first time I did it, it burned like the dickens, now it's no problem (except I'm growing gills).

The day of the gig watch out, some medications that dry out your snotter will also dry out your throat and you'll squeak and squawk. Backstage, if you are able, stand on your head for a while, or sit "upside down" in a chair or couch so your head is the lowest part of your body. This rushes the blood to your head, warming up the larynx and making you feel pleasantly dizzy (this was an old trick among opera singers). Do some deep breathing and a few jumping jacks before going on stage. Warming up the body helps open the sinuses (for example, take a hot bath and you'll notice while you're in the bath, you can breathe much more clearly.)

Well, I hope Doc Lynman agrees with these crazy remedies, they've worked for me for years.
Posted By: FreewheelNat

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/14/08 12:05 AM

Singing live with a cold is quite a stressful experience but it can be done without it being a disaster.

Concentrate on your breathing - make sure you get that air into your diaphragm (stomach area) and use it to hold your notes.

As Mike said, watch out for side effects of drugs; basically, don't take anything you haven't taken before and you aren't 100% confident about.

Drink plenty of fluids - water is the best, not coffee or alcohol! So carry a bottle of water with you and drink plenty from it during soundcheck etc

And don't forget to explain to your audience you have a cold; get them on your side but sharing a few anecdotes about your cold.

I once saw Marianne Faithfull with the worst cold i've ever seen anyone on stage with. She had to blow her nose between each song and phlegm was coming out as well. But she managed to deliver a great performance nonetheless. So good luck smile

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/14/08 01:24 AM

Hey Nat you say Marianne faithful can sing? woOH I heard her WITHOUT a headcold..... woeful. Now I wish I had heard her with one perhaps she might have been a bit better. I doubt she would have achieved anything if she had not slept with Mick.
Posted By: FreewheelNat

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/14/08 01:34 AM

Hey Jim
I think you are underestimating Marianne. She has got a wonderful voice (and an excellent vocal technique, which is why she managed to sing even with a dreadful cold). Have you heard her last album "before the poison"? It's one of my old time favourite album, her voice is at its best on it. Granted, she did a lot of drugs in the 70s and perhaps didn't make the best decisions for herself back then but the problem has never been with her voice, her problem was the drugs. She's a true performer - she's never really dabbled with songwriting, she leaves this to others, but she can make those songs her own.
Posted By: Lynman Bacolor

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/14/08 01:55 AM

Well, Mike ways of removing congestion is also effective because the salt solution loosen up the mucus. But to reduce the pain we should measure the right amount of salt to be added in the water.

Our body normal salt concentration is 0.9% so for every liter of water you add 9 grams of salts to get the right formula.

Also the hot bath works well


Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/14/08 02:14 PM

Hi Nat One man's meat is another man's poison. As tears go by is probably one of the worst vocal performances I have ever heard.
I have heard her new stuff. Some say she is past it. No I say she never was there in the first place. Nice face (in her day)shame about the voice.
Posted By: FreewheelNat

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/14/08 08:07 PM

For the record, her album "before the poison" (with songs written by PJ Harvey, Nick Cave and Dalman Albarn) got rave reviews. However, she now lives in Paris and the album was released on a french record label, and it got a lot less media coverage in England than some of her previous work.

I don't know "as tears go by"; i wasn't born then and i've got little interest in her pre-broken english period. When i talk about her stuff, i mean the stuff she had a creative input into, not the stuff that was forced onto her by her recording company or people in her entourage. So we're talking "broken english" onwards.

That's the last i'll say about her, i promise; i guess all we can do is agree to disagree wink
Posted By: Richard Maclemale

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/14/08 11:16 PM

OK, it's the next day.

The gig went REALLY well. Meaning my voice held up totally fine. I did drink water after every single song, but I normally do that.

It's hard to say what helped most, but I did start taking these multi-vitamins starting the morning before the gig and I think they helped - they're loaded with a bunch of different vitamins at something like 400% the normal dosage. Lots of B vitamins in it. Don't have the package with me right now, but I'll check it tonight.

Thanks, all, for the advice. I've really learned from this - the next time I start to feel a cold coming on, I'm going to attack it immediately. I might not totally prevent it, but I can maybe cut down on its duration.

Thanks again!

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/15/08 03:12 AM

Word of advice Richard too many vitamins are just as bad as not enough. I read an article funnily enough it was from the USA and it seems that a lot of people are taking a whole bunch of vitamins thinking it is good for them it causes all sorts of probs and side fx. Be careful OK in moderation but not to be abused.
Posted By: Joe Wrabek

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/15/08 10:09 AM

Lyman, glad you're here. I avoid drugs (did enough in college); if I have a cold, I rely pretty much exclusively on Vitamin C and peppermint tea. (Sometimes a little honey in the tea to help coat the throat.) Juice instead of water. And I'll avoid mucus-producing foods, like dairy products.

I ran into a thread on another site from a singer who had had to do a 6-hour gig with a bad cold, and discovered I do a lot of the stuff she did. (Except for doing a 6-hour gig.) She said she concentrated on songs that could be performed with a more limited voice range; I do that, too--for me, that means playing older stuff, because my voice did have less range a few years ago than now. I also do slower ones, so I can take more frequent breaths. I even have a few songs that I *wrote* when I had a cold; under normal conditions, I'd have to *work* to make my voice sound that bad, but with a cold, it's easy.

I also know that performing with a cold is going to strain my voice, and I'll be pretty much useless for a few days afterward, and I just plan on it. I haven't figured out a way around that.

Posted By: Mark Kaufman

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/15/08 09:28 PM

This one won't cure your cold, but the results are amazing and immediate. For thousands of years people have been using a Neti Pot to clear out congestion. It looks like a small, longnosed teapot. You put in a mild, warm saltwater solution and pour into one nostril, and the water washes through your sinuses, then comes out the other nostril. It clears out a lot of nastiness, and you can breathe again. Very helpful when you need to gig. At the risk of grossing you out, it looks like this:
Posted By: FreewheelNat

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 01/15/08 10:05 PM

Glad to hear the gig went well Richard wink
Posted By: Johnny Daubert

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 02/03/08 08:31 PM

"Pulsation Irrigation". Just found this info on throat cleansing, to go along with any saline nasal washing methods:

Pulsatile irrigation of the throat removes bacteria from the throat and increases circulation to the throat, making more white blood cells, the body's natural defense against invading contaigons, available at the throat. This safe, simple, drugless method is an important alternative at a time when the effectiveness of drugs is diminished by the rapid appearance of drug-resistant diseases. This can be accomplished nicely by using pulsating irrigation to the throat, with the Grossan Throat Irrigator Tip. Pulsating irrigation is 100 times more effective than simple rinsing. By crow-barring out the bacteria, the body has its best chance of overcoming infection without antibiotics. The unique triple edge action of the tongue cleaner element effectively removes and rinses away bacteria and food particles from the back of the tongue other products can not reach or effectively remove.

You can do a search for either nasal or throat cleansing, and get a ton of info.
Seems doing both, along with the warm/hot teas and such, would be most effective, to not only take care of immediate congestion, but to possibly ward off some problems in the first place.

Happy Pulsating!


Re: Beating a bad head cold - 02/03/08 10:37 PM

One tip about stopping bugs spreading is by taking care of your mics.

Always clean the grill with a medical wipe before and after use and dry it off thoroughly.

Mics pick up all the germs from the mouth so be careful who you let use your mic. I will only use my own mic and will seldom let anyone else near it. I carry spares for others to use if required.
Posted By: Emily Sanders

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 02/04/08 12:40 AM

EXCELLENT tip about mics, Big Jim. I'll add washing hands to the list as well. smile


Re: Beating a bad head cold - 02/04/08 02:50 AM

Thanks.... One extra thing grills can be replaced and so can the foam insert these are not expensive and should be replaced regularily. Always keep the grill dry I carry a clean cloth it stops rust and corrosion. I take out the foam and wash and dry it thoroughly.
Posted By: Mark Kaufman

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 02/04/08 11:00 PM

No way. Makes the mic taste medicinal.

Posted By: Brian Austin Whitney

Re: Beating a bad head cold - 06/17/17 12:40 PM

In a world where everyone uses too much Purell and kids aren't allowed to be outside let alone get dirty and roll around anywhere near a germ I bet colds and other stuff is going to get worse and worse as these folks grow up with wimpy immune systems that can't fight off anything.
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