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Recovering from flu

I recently caught a cold and at first my voice didn't seem to be affected at all, but then I completely lost my voice. After some time my chest voice came back, and then a few days later I had my falsetto.

Fast forward two weeks, and my mixed voice and range is still completely gone (and the dry post-flu cough seems to be persisting)! I can't sing a tune if my life dependent on it. All I hear is screechy distortion all over the place, as if this was the first time I ever sang.

How to recover from the illness? What sort of practice routine should I exercise to strengthen the mixed voice and get the chords conducting again? Do you think antibiotics would help?

Thanks a lot. This is a real pain, and unfortunately I am sure many have gone through it before.


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    highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,359
    edited November 2015

    The antibiotics question would be something to ask your doctor.

    There are some variants of "the flu" that really settle-in to the vocal cords.

    I had one a few years ago that persisted for a very long time... months. And like you described, the cough also lingered. Coughing is about the worst thing you can do to your vocal cords, so getting treatment for the cough is a good idea. You want to stop the blasting of your cords every time you cough. You also need to be able to stop constantly trying to clear your throat, because that "ahem" sound people use to clean off their cords is also terribly wearing on your cords.

    Your cords become inflamed from the abuse of the coughing and possibly from the illness itself creating mucus. All of that makes for a difficult time recovering.

    Obviously, if you are continuing to over-produce mucus, you will continue to cough and to feel the need to clear your voice and throat.

    Drink lots of H2o and try to gently exercise the mid voice, where you are saying you have the most trouble. Yes, that is the area that will take the biggest brunt of the illness. IF your voice can tolerate some very light singing in this mid-voice range, it will be helpful to ease back into using it.

    Try singing some very, very light downscales, from up in your head voice down into your chest voice, treading very lightly through the passagio/midvoice area. Do your best to let the notes sound, rather than fail and break up. Try gently to get the stubborn notes to lightly sound. If you can, then work that gentle sound for a while and see if your voice begins to turn around. If you can't get those notes to sound, you will probably need to take a vocal rest while you follow your doctor's advice on how to best recover from your symptoms. In some cases, the doctor will tell you to rest, drink plenty of liquids, and come back in two or three weeks. That's not what we want to hear, but it's what they sometimes tell us.

    Take showers and breathe in the steam vapors to help clear the throat. The recommended dose of ibuprofen can sometimes help to reduce swelling, but can also cause you to oversing, because of the numbing effect of anti-inflammatory medicines. You could sing too hard without realizing it.

    The mid-voice is the most susceptible to note losses during and after an illness. In most cases, vocal recovery will go better if you can gently sing through the illness rather than a full vocal rest. The midvoice will atrophy and go hide in the corner if it goes into disuse. We take vocal rest, however, when we have a bronchial infection or hoarseness, because the continued coughing or swollen vocal cords need to be reversed before those notes can come back.

    Often the gentle coaxing from gentle high to gentle low will encourage the cords to reverse the tendency to atrophy and begin the process of vocal recovery.

    Get well soon, Toony.

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    ToonyToony Member Posts: 3
    edited October 2015
    Thanks a lot for the great reply Bob. Always a pleasure to read your posts.

    Today I was finally able to access the mixed voice and feel some of the "thyroid tilt burn". Still completely terrible and I couldn't ease into the higher notes / bridge all the way to the top (without falsetto) at all, but at least I feel like it's slowly improving. This way I can practice a bit according to your guide, which means that I hopefully won't have to completely restart my singing career once the post-flu symptoms finally go. Thanks again.
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    ElizabethReddElizabethRedd Pro Posts: 1
    edited November 2015
    Hello!!! I am new here and you dont how useful this post has been!!! I just recovered from a 13-day cold and I feel I still have "something" in my throat that is affecting me while I sing. I feel its mucus and it isnt gone completely. I stopped singing during my cold and, from what I read, that wasnt a good idea :neutral:
    Plus, I sometimes have cough-episodes that have made it worse. I know Ill fully recover soon!! Thanks for the advice!!!!!
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    highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,359
    Try to resist that urge to cough, as that will keep irritating your vocal cords. You may need treatment for the cough if it persists.

    Get well soon!

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    I have cough and cold owing weather fluctuations.15 days have passed but still my voice has not recovered fully.Should I continue to sing and do warmups or should I wait for my voice to recover fully.And this is a problem because the vocal performances have to be turned down if any.Please somebody help.
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    highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,359
    As long as you continue to cough, that will wear on your voice and won't be at its best. You should try to continue to sing unless your cough is persistent. If you stop singing altogether, your voice can atrophy. If you are hoarse you should give yourself vocal rest, and if you have a bronchial infection that is forcing you to keep coughing, you should have vocal rest. Otherwise, you should try to keep at least lightly singing.

    Don't leave persistent coughs untreated. Get medical help to stop the coughing because it wears your voice down. You can watch Ken's video on mucus. That may help you to reduce your coughing.

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    Thanku so much sir..You are always a savior ..
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    highmtnhighmtn Administrator, Moderator, Enrolled, Pro, 3.0 Streaming Posts: 15,359
    I'm just a helper. I'm glad to be of assistance.
    : ^)
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