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When the voice fails

Winter is also the season for colds, which invariably take their toll on your voice. Cold symptoms affect our vocal cords due to the strain from sniffing and mucus deposits, making your voice hoarse or causing it to disappear altogether. So what can you do against hoarseness?

You may have gone to bed with a sore throat and woke up with a raspy voice – or perhaps with no voice at all, which can be annoying, especially when trying to talk. Although hoarseness is mostly harmless and disappears after a few days, we advise you to get medical help if the symptoms persist for over three weeks. Read more about what you can do and shouldn't do against hoarseness.

Relief from not talking
The most important thing is to go easy on your vocal cords, and we therefore recommend that you avoid talking as much as possible when hoarse. If this is not an option, then try talking quietly. It is especially important that you avoid whispering and clearing your throat frequently, because this causes your vocal cords to rub against each other and become irritated.

Moisture helps
Keep your vocal cords moist by drinking lots of fluids. Warm tea or milk are very helpful here, but be sure to avoid drinks with extreme temperatures. Throat candy can also help, because sucking on it stimulates the production of saliva and thus helps to moisten the throat. Ideally you should also try to increase the humidity in the room.

Adjust your diet
Although drinking fluids is very important for hoarseness, we recommend that you stay away from coffee and fruit juice because the acids will irritate your vocal cords. Moreover, make sure that what you eat isn't too spicy and neither too hot nor too cold.

No tobacco and alcohol
It's very important to stay away from tobacco so that your vocal cords can recover. This also includes passive smoking, e.g. spending time in smoke-filled rooms where the air will irritate the mucus membranes in your mouth and throat. And avoid drinking alcohol, especially liquor.

sante24 – your health advice helpline
The doctors and medical staff of sante24 are available to share their expertise on health issues, free of charge and around the clock. They will also make a doctor's appointment for you on request. Tel. +41 (0)44 404 86 86