Singing with Asthma: Medical Maintenance Part 4
Allergies aren’t the only seasonal ailment that hinders your ability to sing well. Asthma is an equal offender. Whether you suffer from allergy-induced breathing issues, severe reactions to stress, or just a pair of easily irritated bronchial tubes, you know that singing with asthma can feel like an impossible task.
If an asthmatic episode hinders your lung function on the day of a big performance, don’t worry: modern medicine is on your side. Singing with asthma is much easier these days than it used to be! Now, most asthmatics have access to a medical treatment called a bronchodilator. This treatment—which often comes in the form of Albuterol or Levalbuterol—can be invaluable in helping you get back behind the microphone after an asthmatic episode.
There are two ways for you to benefit from a bronchodilator:
1. Inhaler. If you’re singing with asthma, your rescue inhaler is your first line of defense. If you’re suffering from an asthma attack and/or irritated bronchial tubes prior to a performance, your rescue inhaler is the first step in getting your breathing back on track. Your rescue inhaler is specially designed to lessen the inflammation in the bronchial tubes that makes it difficult for you to breathe well enough to sing. However, if you’re suffering from an additional illness like bronchitis or pneumonia—or if your asthma attack has progressed significantly—your inhaler might not be enough. In those cases, you’ll need a…
2. Nebulizer. Your rescue inhaler offers a single, helpful dose of a medication designed to reduce inflammation in your bronchial tubes, but a nebulizer offers a continuous, concentrated dose of your prescribed bronchodilator. While your inhaler lasts for one breath, your nebulizer treatment lasts for ten minutes or more. The extra time, combined with the more concentrated dose of medication for multiple long, deep breaths, ensures that the nebulizer can be effective in situations where the inhaler cannot be. If you’re singing with asthma, the nebulizer is your new best friend.
Nebulizer treatments can be given at any hospital. However, if you’ve been diagnosed with asthma by a medical professional, and if your asthma requires medication that is covered by insurance, you may be able to secure a nebulizer for in-home personal use. Amazon also boasts a number of personal nebulizers for purchase. If you’re singing with asthma, a nebulizer is definitely a sound purchase.
Nebulizer treatments usually consist of levalbuterol or albuterol. The former is a milder medication designed to avoid tremors that bronchodilators sometimes cause. However, my students have found albuterol to be more effective. If you think your asthma could be treated more effectively with a bronchodilator, consult your physician or pulmonologist.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional, and I cannot offer official medical advice. You should always ask a trained medical before making any changes to your treatment regimen. That said, I have discovered through years of experience that, if you’re singing with asthma, you do have to be your own advocate. Don’t be afraid to ask your medical professionals about treatments to ease your symptoms—and don’t be afraid to ask about the benefits of a nebulizer treatment with a bronchodilator.
Singing with asthma can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Learn more about how to treat your asthma by contacting your medical professional today. And, if you want to ensure that you’ve got the proper technique to support your lungs, contact the Brian Schexnayder Vocal Studio to schedule a lesson now!