Voice Actor’s Guide to Getting Over Your Cold Faster

by Jason McCoy

Updated August 2022

There are a lot of upsides to working in voiceover:

– It’s fun!

– You are your own boss.

– The pay is great!

– You get to work from home everyday!

But there is one downside to having a voice over career compared to other industries.

That is…

If you get sick and congested sounding as a voice over artist, it can put your entire voice over business on-hold.

Unless you’re doing a cold medication spot, who wants to hire you sounding sick?

No one.

With most other jobs you can still work no matter how you sound, you just have to push through even when your not feeling well.

In voice over though, it doesn’t matter how you feel. If you sound sick, you probably can’t work.

Thankfully I’m pretty healthy myself. I don’t get sick that often, but it does happen.

And last Friday was BAD…

When I left my voice over studio Friday…

My head was pounding.

My throat was sore.

My muscles ached.

I had zero energy.

So, I went straight to bed.

By Saturday it was even worse, with full on congestion.

No matter how well you avoid germs and prevent getting sick, you will get a cold from time to time during your voice over career.

So when it does happen, here’s what can help you get over the cold as quickly as possible so you can get back to voice over faster….

NOTE: I don’t usually go to the doctor for a cold and I try not to take cold medicines even when I am sick. Instead I try to do stuff at home that will help me get over the cold as quickly as possible. Sometimes that does mean taking medicine to help ease the suffering, like with this past cold I had to use Nyquil to help me rest at night. Usually though, I try to make use of some home remedies before taking over the counter medicine.

Here are 6 things to do to fight your cold…

Stay in Bed.

Being self-employed, it’s hard to take time off.

You may consider attempting to push through the cold and keep working in order to get other work done.

Don’t push it!

What you really need now is rest.

You want your body to be able to recover from the illness as quickly as possible. So stay in bed and get rest so you don’t prolong the sickness. Don’t watch TV or be checking your phone and email constantly.

Just close your eyes, take naps, and truly rest so your body gets a break.

Drink plenty of fluids.

I drink water all day, every day.

You probably do too.

But it’s good to up the fluid intake when your sick. By drinking a lot of fluids you’ll be able to flush out any kid of germs which will help you recover faster.

Hot tea and water are my goto fluids. I tend to drink a lot of green tea with honey and lemon.

Even if you aren’t thirsty, keep drinking as much as you can.

Choose Healthy Food.

This past cold was so bad for me, I lost my appetite.

I didn’t feel like eating anything. But in order to have energy and help my body fight the good fight, when I did eat I tried to make it as healthy as possible but sticking to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Eat things like watermelon, apples, oranges, broccoli, salads and soups. It’ll help give your body the extra nutrients it needs to boost your immune system.

Eat Some Honey.

Since congestion is one of the biggest issues of a cold holding you back from doing a voice over, it’s good to know that honey can help loosen congestion.

I sometimes take a spoonful of honey to help with congestion and also to help coat a sore throat.

Anytime I’ve done this, I feel like I notice a difference the same day. I can feel the congestion breaking up some. Experts mention taking a tablespoon 2-3 times a day – that’s a bit much for me. I usually do it once a day a few days in a row.

Inhale Hot Steam.

Another way to help break up that congestion is by using steam.

Whether it’s taking a hot shower, a hot bath to soak your bones or putting your face over a steam inhaler (like this one), it’s good to take deep breathes of humidity into your lungs.

The moisture will help clear out your nasal passages and any chest congestion you may have.

Do a Nasal Wash.

Have you ever used a Neti Pot?

A Neti Pot definitely takes some getting used to. Even though I’ve done it several times I still do it wrong from time to time.

You can use a Neti Pot to pour salt water into one nostril and it flows out the other. Taking all kinds of gunk with it.

It sounds gross. And it is. But it works.

Check out this video to see how it’s done.

If you do it wrong you’ll end up drinking the salt water. Yuck!

But if you get the angle right, it’ll help you feel better.

Also, it’s really important to make sure that you only use distilled or boiled water. Some people have used dirty tap water and introduced nasty bacteria into their body.

You could also try the sinus rinse instead of a Neti Pot, which may be easier to use.

Either way, a nasal wash like this helps you get the voice over killing congestion out faster.

Stay Healthy!

There you go!

The six things I use to get over a cold faster.

And while you’re waiting to get over your cold, don’t forget to keep your clients in the loop.

Let your clients know your feeling under the weather by setting up an email auto response.

If you feel fine but your sound is questionable, then let the client decide by sending a short sample every day and let them know your willing to work but have a cold and you want to make sure they approve your sound before you record.

I’ve had some clients say they don’t notice a difference and other’s say I sound terrible. So let them decide what they want to do for their project.

I don’t recall ever losing a job from having a cold. A client will usually push off the deadline so that you can recover and record when you’re sounding better.

No matter what you do, sometimes you just have to let the cold run it’s course. But by doing these things, you can usually shorten the cold’s duration.

These are the things that have worked for me when I’m sick.

I’m able to get back into the studio sooner if I follow all of the techniques and remedies above.

How about you? What is something that helps you get over a cold faster?

Let me know in the comments below…

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  • seachangeau says:

    epicor also works as a preventative but if you are getting colds then cod liver oil is dabomb with lypospheric vit c- will unfortunately have you back on your feet in less than 4 hrs so no excuses re housework etc…

  • Maggie H Taylor says:

    Some things I never thought of. Thanks, Jason.

  • I haven’t had a cold in 3 years — not kidding — since taking BioSuperFood algae (BSF), and I’m around sick people on a regular basis, like my child and whatever latest thing he brings home from school. You can find BSF it at Vitamin Donkey. I wish I was an affiliate but I’m not yet. BSF was recommended to me after being treated for cancer. It comes in 3 formulas and I used to take the most $$$ one. I took that for a couple years, and now I take BSF Formula 2, which is a little bit easier on the wallet. Still not cheap but very, very worth it. Whenever I feel something coming on, I take extra capsules, get myself a nap, and go to bed early. I truly have not been sick since April 2014. Other excellent supplements as preventives are olive leaf extract and NAC (the latter especially for middle-aged/older people and for excess mucus–it thins it out), and in the acute phase, andrographis is great as both a preventive and to treat, and there’s the old standby echinacea. In the late fall/winter/early spring, I add the olive leaf to my regimen. I always take NAC, and I use andrographis with anything acute, but I haven’t had to use it in, yep, 3 years. To everyone’s health! 🙂

    • Jason McCoy says:

      Wow 3 years! That’s impressive. I’ve never heard of BSF – will need to look into more. Thanks for the comment!

  • Rich Nicholas says:

    Hi Jason… I can usually tell if I’m coming down with a cold if I sneeze more than a couple of times and if a hair dryer is handy I breathe the hot air through my nose–as I think that’s where the virus is trying to make a home–or if I’m on the road I turn the vents on hot for ten minutes or so and breathe that in (as long as I’m the only one in the car). That usually prevents the virus from taking hold. Otherwise, since I do the sinus rinse everyday anyway I double the salt when I’m congested and also have a MyPurMist to steam my sinuses. Also take extra zinc which seems to help, as well as sugar-free lemon lozenges and warm salt water gargle for sore throat.

    • Jason McCoy says:

      Hey Rich – Great suggestions. Thank you!

    • seachangeau says:

      great idea – i have tried a vit c ( sodium c dont use the acid stuff!!!) nasal wash too – it works as does plain hypertonic saline

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