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What to Do When You're Sick on Performance Day

It's the nightmare scenario for any musical artist or performer: waking up feeling under the weather on the day of a crucial show. While illness can throw a wrench into your plans, there are practical steps you can take not only to get through the gig but also to improve the quality of your performance.


Be Honest with Yourself: Listen to your body, mind, and heart. If it's bad, do not jeopardize yourself or others. Gauge the severity of your illness. If you're experiencing mild symptoms, you might still be able to perform with some adjustments.

Inform Your Band and Crew: Let your collaborators, bandmates, crew, and anyone involved in the performance know about your situation as early as possible. Seek their input.


Adjust Your Setlist or Routine & Possibly Simplify Your Performance: If you are a singer, adjust the setlist by removing physically demanding songs or those that require a wide vocal range. Focus on songs you can deliver comfortably.

Hydration and Rest: Rest beforehand as much as possible. Stay hydrated with water and herbal teas with honey.


If you are a vocalist, here are some remedies that may help: Steaming can moisturize the vocal cords. Throat sprays or lozenges can provide relief. Avoid whispering, as it rubs your cords together and can create irritation. Adequate fluids can help soothe your throat, while rest can aid in a speedier recovery. Here are some things we swear by : Saline Nasal Spray, Afrin Nasal spray (it really opens you up, but can be addictive so consult doctor), Manuka Honey, Throat Coat tea, Entertainer's Secret Throat Relief, and believe it or not eating a bag of greasy chips right before you sing will help coat the cords!


Use Vocal Techniques: Warm-Up Gently: Stretch your body and engage in gentle vocal warm-ups to avoid straining your voice further.


Have a Backup Plan: If feasible, identify a stand-in or understudy who can step in if your condition worsens. Rehearse with them beforehand to ensure a smooth transition.

Utilize Over-the-Counter Medications: Consult a Professional: If appropriate, consult with a healthcare professional for advice on over-the-counter medications or prescriptions that can alleviate symptoms without causing drowsiness.


Rest After Your Performance: Rest both your voice and body.

While getting sick before a performance is far from ideal, being proactive and taking necessary precautions can help you navigate the situation. Remember, your health should always be the top priority.


By communicating effectively, adjusting your approach, and incorporating self-care strategies, you can minimize the impact of illness and still deliver a memorable performance.

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