Sinus Drainage Sore Throat

One of the most common and aggravating symptoms of sinusitis is a sore throat. A sinus drainage sore throat is especially frustrating because the main cause—mucus draining from the sinuses into the throat—is  hard to prevent. While decongestant medicines may help alleviate sinus pressure and congestion in the sinuses, they can often aggravate a sore throat by increasing the amount of mucus draining into the throat.

Sinus Drainage Sore Throat Remedies

When my sinus problems were at their worst, I suffered from a sinus infection 8+ times per year. While getting a sinus infection every 6.5 weeks wasn’t any fun, I got pretty good at managing the symptoms, especially the post-nasal drip and resultant sore throat. Here are a few sure-fire remedies that always alleviated my sinus drainage sore throat:

  • Nasal Decongestant + Cough Suppressant – One of the biggest causes of a sinus drainage sore throat isn’t just the mucus itself. It’s the cough you get because your throat itches. While coughing helps prevent mucus from draining into the lungs, coughing too frequently can irritate your throat. One of the best remedies I found for this was combining a decongestant like Sudafed with a cough suppressant like Delsym. The Sudafed helps with congestion and sinus pain, while the cough suppressant coats your throat and eases the throat irritation. I use the 12-hour varieties of both of these medicines because they’re cheaper per dose and more convenient since you only have to take them twice per day.
  • Drinking Lots of Fluids – Yes, it’s an obvious remedy, but it’s worth mentioning here. Drinking lots of fluids, particularly water and herbal teas, can help keep you hydrated and soothe your throat. Your body produces about one liter of mucus on a normal day. When you’re sick, this amount can easily double or triple. If you’re sick and you’re not drinking extra water, you’re likely going to be dehydrated. Dehydration can cause your mouth and throat to dry and your mucus to thicken and stick to the back of the throat. Making sure to drink plenty of fluids will keep you hydrated and keep your throat clear of phlegm. While you’re sick, stay away from coffee and alcohol, since both tend to have dehydrating effects that can aggravate a sinus drainage sore throat.
  • Throat Losanges – Throat losanges can work wonders, especially if you pick the right ones. I prefer Zinc Losanges, because they’ve been clinically proven to reduce the duration of colds and infections by helping prevent the reproduction of viruses.
  • Throat Sprays – I’m not a huge fan of throat sprays because they don’t seem to last very long. That said, some people swear by them. Most of them work by numbing the throat and mouth.
  • Gargling with Salt Water – Gargling with a warm mixture of salt water can work well on milder cases. Salt is a natural antiseptic. In addition to killing some bacteria, warm salt water can also help reduce inflammation. If your throat looks red, gargling with salt water is often worth a try. Mix one tablespoon of salt into one cup of warm tapwater.
In general, I’ve found that an all-of-the-above approach often works best. Drink lots of fluids, take a decongestant, and use throat losanges as needed. If your throat seems red and inflamed, try the salt water. If you’re coughing, add a cough suppressant. If you experience these symptoms frequently, it’s best to discover the root cause of the sinus drainage and address it.