It is so important to take care of your vocal cords. If you have a cold or the flu, etc., please rest your voice if at all possible. Whispering is just as bad as talking and singing. Gargling with warm salt water is a great “at home” remedy for helping those swollen vocal cords. If you have a cough, please take cough medicine to help stop the cough. Coughing is very difficult on the vocal cords, and you can end up with serious laryngitus or even damaged your vocal cords. Inhaling steam is another way to help the irritated vocal cords. You can put a pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil…..then place a towel over your head and stand over the steam and inhale deeply. Taking a vocal rest is the best cure for laryngitus. Some people find it very difficult not to talk. It can, however, be a very spiritual time. It can be a time to be more observant and a better listener. Take care of your instrument, and it will bring you great joy.