Preventing Bronchitis from Crippling Your Signing Voice

Most people don’t know this, but right before my big music video release show last September, I came down with bronchitis. It started as a normal cold, but for the past few years each time I get a cold it almost always turns into bronchitis. This has been the case with my Dad as well.

Apparently I have some hereditary disposition to bronchial infections (a terrible Achilles’ heel for a professional singer). When the cold virus infects my respiratory system, it weakens it to the point that a bacterial infection quickly takes over and within as little as two days I will develop chest congestion and start coughing relentlessly.

The Monday before my show I was literally in tears lamenting my impending vocal doom, when my assistant Michelle asked if I had gone to the doctor. Why? I just had a “cold” officially and so it hadn’t occurred to me to go to the doctor since they can’t prescribe anything for a virus, and I wasn’t coughing my brains out – yet. But Michelle said that she found herself in a similar situation in high school (before a choir concert) and her doctor prescribed an inhaler for her that helped preserve her voice.

A glimmer of hope lay on the horizon…

Albuterol Inhaler saved my voice when I had bronchitis - Rebecca De La Torre

Albuterol Inhaler

So I went in to the doc and, thankfully, with my history of repeatedly getting bronchitis every 6-10 months over the years she didn’t hesitate to hand me an inhaler sample – I didn’t even have to pay!


Of course she also prescribed antibiotics to clear out the bacterial infection in my bronchial tubes.

For the first time ever I had bronchitis with minimal coughing. Sometimes, when I did cough, though, it turned into a hacking episode. But taking the inhaler stopped it quickly.

The important thing is that my voice was at 75% (at worst) that weekend, and considering my stress level and lack of sleep, that was incredible. So if you are predisposed to bronchitis as I am, go to the doctor as soon as you get a cold. Don’t wait!

  • Jaime Harris
    Posted at 14:41h, 25 January Reply

    I came across your articles when searching for vocal recovery after bronchitis. your history for bronchitis sounds very similar. Except I always get the horrible deep cough. The one that hurts. I’m just getting over another bout and my throat is raw. Feels swollen and voice raspy to say the least. I was wondering if you had written an article or could give me advice on how to help restore my vocal chords to health. I usually do teas but have found that cough drops irritate it more this time. Thanks in advance

    • Rebecca De La Torre
      Posted at 15:16h, 25 January Reply

      Hi Jaime,
      You know, that’s a good idea. I’m actually recovering from bronchitis right now! And I have the same thing: the deep cough that really hurts. And I have three gigs to sing for today!
      Right now, inhaling steam is super helpful as is the neti pot. Look up the Vicks steam humidifier – that’s the one I am using now.
      So I’ll write an article about the things that I do to restore my voice, or at least get it functioning. Of course, rest is the best medicine, but professionals can’t always do that and still be considered reliable by our colleagues.
      I’ll see if I can get that posted tomorrow morning.

    • Rebecca De La Torre
      Posted at 15:19h, 25 January Reply

      Hey Jaime, there’s another article I wrote about singing with bronchitis that might be helpful here:

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