Don't let colds or allergies make you sound as bad as you feel

Phlegm and mucus can hijack a broadcaster’s voice. NPR announcer Jessica Hansen shared her tips for sounding healthy despite colds, flu, allergies and other voice-affecting afflictions — send them to all your stuffy, drippy, croaking colleagues.

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HYDRATE: Drink lots of water, and avoid coffee and alcohol. Acidic foods can make dehydration worse.

GARGLE WITH SALINE: Add a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide per cup of saline if you’re losing your voice. Don’t swallow it!

DRINK TEA: Look for blends with slippery elm bark, which soothes the throat. Maybe add some manuka honey.

FOCUS YOUR RESONANCE: Aim your voice at the front of your face, not the back of your throat, to sound less sick.

GET THE PHLEGM OUT: Clear the mucus from your nose with a neti pot or saline spray to defeat post-nasal drip.


Jessica Hansen voices NPR’s funding credits and serves as an in-house voice coach at NPR headquarters.

Emma Grazado is the NPR Training team's writing and reporting intern.