Singing With A Cold: Is It Possible To Sing While Sick? Tuesday April 12 2022, 1:41 PM
Yona Marie
Singer, Songwriter, Producer.
Singing With A Cold: Is It Possible To Sing While Sick?

Singing While You're Sick

Are you fighting a cold, allergies, or something worse? Wondering if you should just avoid singing for the time being? The answer is that you should avoid it while sick if you can.

While singing while sick probably won't do you any harm, the things people tend to do to combat sickness is what can really bring danger to your vocal cords and muscles.

Let's go over a few things you want to be aware of and some things you want to avoid when you're sick and singing. 

Singing With Mucus

One of your main problems when it comes to singing while sick will be fighting through the mucus that your body will naturally make to fight back against the sickness you're going through.

Mucus will come out as you sing, possibly ruining your pitch control, breath, and clarity.

Take it from me; I know how it feels to be performing, and a wad of mucus blocks your notes! I can fake my way through it, but it still sucks and takes away from the performance.

Mucus will cause you to want to clear your throat and cough a lot while you sing.

This can suck in during a pandemic when people are quick to look at you funny, but it's not great for singers either since coughing and clearing your throat is not good for you in the long run.

It's better to swallow saliva or drink water to get rid of that mucus. 


Singing With A Swollen Vocal Passage 

Another problem you may face when it comes to singing while sick is swelling and inflammation in your throat. This swelling can also affect your range, pitch accuracy, and breathing.

Professional singers who are on tour or doing gigs will go as far as getting steroid injections to combat the swelling. Natural anti-inflammatories like turmeric and ginger will likely help if you have access to it. 

Singing With A Sore Throat 

If you are sick, you may have what can be the worst thing stopping you from singing: a sore throat. If this is the case and it's not a must that you sing, I really recommend that you simply avoid it.

People will understand in many cases, so don't feel like you have to force yourself. A natural throat lozenge will be a good idea but avoid cough drops with menthol since it can dry out your voice. 

One thing you don't want to use is a throat-numbing spray! You may be tempted since you'd think it's a good idea, but most of them can also dry out your voice.

In addition to the dryness, it can cause you to overwork your vocal muscles to the point of unhealthy strain without realizing it due to the numbing properties of the medicine. 

Related Post: Throat Lozenges For Singers - What You Need To Know

How To Sing When The Show Must Go On


If you have a gig that you really can't afford to cancel, you can still make this work as long as you aren't super sick!

The first thing you want to do is get plenty of pure water. Honey and tea that is not caffeinated will also be a great idea to help soothe your vocal passage.

Related Post: 6 Best Teas For A Singer's Vocal Health

Go On Vocal Rest

One major thing you can do to avoid putting your voice through too much damage is to go on complete vocal rest during the times you are not performing or rehearsing. Opt not to talk at all and help your voice get a proper break while you're sick.

Take It Easy

If you can, try to sing lighter and with less power in your voice to take it easy. Consider changing the key of your songs to something lower and more accessible that won't cause you to strain your voice.

Get a mic to avoid having to belt out loud notes for the crowd to be able to hear you well.

Rely on background singers to help you get through your song in order to help ease the pressure of good breath support during your performance. 

Avoid Bad Food And Drinks

Don't think it's a good time to try to knock out your cold with alcohol! Alcohol can be seriously drying on your voice and cause all the problems you already have to get even more hectic. Also, avoid spicy foods, which can increase your mucus output while you're sick. 

Related Post: Do You Sing Better When You Drink Alcohol?


Take Recommended Medicines 

Consider a medicine like Mucinex that has Guaifenesin, which can help decongest you without causing any adverse effects to your voice box.

Zinc is also known to help shorten the time that you are sick with a cold or flu. As I mentioned before, try natural anti-inflammatories like turmeric and ginger. 

Use A Steamer Or Humidifier

Vocal steamers use distilled or demineralized water vapors to soothe your voice. Using a vocal steamer, humidifier, or even natural steam from your shower can help you to clear out mucus and congestion for a more clear singing voice.

A good old fashion netty pot will come in handy in this case, o you could use a humidifier. A fix like this will only take about 10-15 minutes to clear you up, at least temporarily! 

Most vocal steamers are portable and great for touring when you're on the road performing. They also tend to be pretty easy to use despite how the packaging can be intimidating.

Some vocal steamers like the Mypurmist brand even come with a hands-free option for you to use while multitasking.

Related Post: The Pros And Cons Of Vocal Steamers

Caution When Dealing With Other Ailments

In addition to colds, allergies, and sore throats, there are other ailments that can affect your singing voice. It's important to exercise caution and assess whether it's safe to sing when you're sick with these conditions.

Respiratory Infections

If you're dealing with a respiratory infection such as bronchitis or pneumonia, singing can put additional strain on your already compromised respiratory system.

It's advisable to rest your voice and prioritize your overall health by seeking appropriate medical treatment.


Laryngitis is the inflammation of the vocal cords and can result in hoarseness or loss of voice.

Singing when you have laryngitis can exacerbate the inflammation and delay your recovery. It's best to rest your voice until your vocal cords have healed.

sinus-sickness 1.jpg


Sinusitis can cause congestion, facial pain, and pressure, which can affect your singing ability. Singing while experiencing sinusitis symptoms may lead to increased mucus production and discomfort.

It's important to manage your sinusitis effectively with appropriate medications and nasal rinses before considering singing.

Strep Throat

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that can cause severe throat pain, difficulty swallowing, and fever. Singing with strep throat can worsen the condition and prolong your recovery.

It's crucial to rest your voice and seek medical treatment, including antibiotics, to fully recover before singing again.

In general, it's vital to listen to your body and prioritize your health when deciding whether to sing while sick with any ailment.

If you're uncertain or experiencing significant discomfort, it's best to consult a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or an ear, nose, and throat specialist, who can provide personalized guidance based on your specific condition.

Remember, taking care of your overall well-being should always be the priority, and allowing yourself proper rest and recovery will help you return to singing with your full vocal capacity sooner.

Related Post: Singing With A Raspy Voice - Is It Bad? Is It Stylistic?

Yona Marie

As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 300 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!

If you are in need of singer, songwriter or song producer services, see what Yona Marie can offer you on her services page.

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