Sinus Infections

Does a Sinus Infection Cause Sore Throat?

October 9, 2020

6 minutes

Does a sinus infection cause sore throat? Yes, it certainly can. Sinus infections can often lead to complications with post-nasal drip — excess mucus draining down the back of your throat  —  which in turn can cause a sore throat or cough.

Fortunately, there are several ways to relieve a sore throat due to sinusitis. We cover those treatments here, along with sinusitis basics, info about other sinusitis symptoms, and more. 

What is sinusitis and what are sinusitis symptoms?

When it comes to sore throats, it can sometimes be difficult to tell if the sore throat is due to a sinus infection or the common cold. Asinus infection is most frequently caused by bacteria settling in your blocked sinuses, resulting in inflammation and pain. 

To deduce whether or not you have a sinus infection, look for the following sinusitis symptoms:

  • Sinus pressure
  • Tenderness in the face, including ear, eye, and teeth pain 
  • Teeth pain
  • Redness/swelling in the face and nasal passages
  • Thick yellow or green mucus
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Congestion
  • Post-nasal drip 
  • Fatigue
  • Itchy ears and throat

Keep in mind that the symptoms of sinusitis can be very similar to cold symptoms. However, sinusitis typically lasts longer than your average cold. In addition, untreated sinusitis symptoms can lead to further complications, with more extreme cases leading to a decreased sense of smell or even loss of vision. Because of this, it’s important to look for the aforementioned signs of sinusitis and seek treatment if necessary.

What does a sore throat from post-nasal drip feel like? 

Have you ever asked yourself where sinus drainage goes? Knowing how sinuses drain is critical to understanding why having post-nasal drip feels like it does. 

Typically, your sinuses drain through your nose and your throat. The sinus drainage that goes down your throat is typically so thin and watery that you don’t even notice it. 

When you get sick, however, your sinus drainage system can go awry. For example, if you’re congested, your sinuses are no longer draining through your nose. And typically, the mucus created when you’re ill is thicker than usual. All of that combines so that more mucus that average and thicker mucus that average is making its way down your throat. As a result, post-nasal drip has its own set of symptoms. 

Post-nasal drip symptoms include: 

  • Sore, itchy throat
  • Frequent throat clearing, swallowing, or spitting
  • Bad breath and/or a foul smell in nose and throat
  • Nausea from excess mucus draining into the stomach 
  • Cough, typically worse at night. 

If you’re not sick frequently, it may be difficult for you to tell the difference between a sore throat caused by post-nasal drip or, say, a sore throat from mold exposure. But if you are suffering from sinusitis, it’s a safe bet that your sore throat is likely caused by post-nasal drip.

What can I take for a sinus infection and sore throat?

There are a handful of recommended treatment options for post-nasal drip and sore throat caused by a sinus infection. However, keep in mind that you will likely be better off treating the sinus infection itself as opposed to the symptom of a sore throat. 

Over-the-counter medication

OTC medication can help soothe the uncomfortable nature of that sore throat. Medications such as tylenol and ibuprofen won’t necessarily stop your sore throat in its tracks, but they can help relieve the pressure and pain that comes with it. Numbing cough drops and sprays can also provide temporary relief.


While antihistamines and other allergen-fighting medications may not help your sore throat directly, they may provide relief from other symptoms associated with a sinus infection, especially if your allergies are making you congested and helping create the environment for your infection to run amok.

Warm liquids and certain foods 

Warm liquids such as tea and coffee can greatly help soothe a sore throat. But it’s important to remember to limit your caffeine intake and to stay hydrated. If you are going to drink warm liquids, non-caffeinated tea with honey is a great option. Eating certain foods, including spicy foods, can also help break up your congestion, which may temporarily help reduce post-nasal drip. 

Aromatherapy, humidity, nasal sprays & steam

The tried and true remedy of using a humidifier or a steamy shower can also help provide temporary relief from sinusitis symptoms such as sore throat. Essential oils such as peppermint or eucalyptus may also help to open up your sinuses and relieve some of the blockage that’s indirectly causing your sore throat. Finally, flushing out your mucus with a neti pot or a saline nasal spray can also provide temporary relief. 


Prescribing antibiotics for a sore throat isn’t typical, but if your sore throat is caused by a sinus infection, professional treatment with antibiotics may be in order. These medicines won’t be prescribed to get rid of your sore throat, but its underlying cause: the sinus infection itself. 

I have chronic sinus infections and thus a chronic post-nasal drip and sore throat. What can I do? 

When you are suffering from chronic sinus infections, chances are that you are also regularly dealing with a slew of sinusitis symptoms, including post-nasal drip and sore throat. And if your sinus infections haven’t responded to regular treatment, you may feel out of options. Fortunately, that’s not the case. 

Balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive new sinus treatment that helps restore proper drainage. During the procedure, your sinus doctor uses a tiny endoscopic balloon to widen your nasal passages and open up your blocked sinuses. The procedure takes less than 30 minutes, can be performed in-office, requires very little recovery time, and provides long-term relief. It is a wonderful alternative to traditional sinus surgery, which often necessitates the cutting of bone or tissue. 

Struggling with chronic post-nasal drip and sore throat caused by sinusitis? Contact Kaplan Sinus Relief today.

At the beginning of this article, we answered the question “Does sinus infection cause sore throat” with an affirmative — yes, it can. But what if you didn’t have a sinus infection in the first place? 

At Kaplan Sinus Relief, we help Houstonians find relief from acute and chronic sinusitis. In fact, our Dr. Kaplan is a leader in spreading the balloon sinuplasty procedure across the nation; he has taught doctors across the country how to successfully perform balloon sinuplasty, helping to bring sinus relief to thousands of Americans. 

If you are struggling with acute or chronic sinus infections and their attending symptoms of post-nasal drip and sore throat, Kaplan Sinus Relief can help. 

For more information, check out our balloon sinuplasty review as well as our testimonials. To request an appointment, call us at 713-766-1818 or contact us online today.

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