What is the Connection Between a Sinus Infection and Cough?

The connection between a sinus infection and cough is in the nasal and sinus secretions that cause irritation to the upper airways and respiratory tract. The build up of congestion and excess mucus may result in post nasal drip. This often leads to a tickly cough, or in some cases a hacking cough.

Coughing is the body's natural defense to rid the bronchial passages and lungs of irritants and secretions. In the case of a sinus infection and cough, the throat, airways, and lungs may become congested. Coughing helps to clear the respiratory tract of mucus. This is why a productive cough that accompanies a sinus infection may actually help to heal the body.

When the sinuses become inflamed and swollen due to sinusitis, most typically the patient will experience pressure, pain, and drainage of phlegm. At the very least, this will produce an annoying post nasal drip. In an effort to clear the lungs, the patient will cough. As a complication from a cold, a sinus infection and cough may linger for several weeks, even with treatment.

Experiencing these two conditions together is actually common. In some patients suffering from sinus infections, a cough may be very minor and non-productive. In cases of a dry cough, a cough suppressant may be recommended. Cough drops containing menthol may soothe irritated passages and calm coughs associated with sinus infections. Many people find honey soothes the throat and helps relieve coughs due to sinusitis.


A sinus infection and cough can become serious if left untreated. In some cases, these conditions may occur after the individual has experienced a bad cold that is slow to clear up. When the sinus passages become swollen and trap excess mucus, bacteria multiply and cause infection. If the patient develops a fever and greenish-yellow phlegm or mucus, this typically will require a course of antibiotic treatment.

Some individuals who suffer from seasonal allergies also develop coughs and what is known as chronic sinusitis. The chronic condition of sinusitis may last for two months when the individual suffers a flare up. Recurrent bouts of sinusitis, accompanied by coughing or allergy-type symptoms, may recur throughout the year.

Sinus infections, with or without coughs, are sometimes misdiagnosed, as some of the symptoms mimic other conditions. For instance, some individuals with a sinus infection may also suffer from earaches and toothache pain. This is because the nerve endings in the head are closely connected.

The patient may mistakenly believe a dental problem is the cause of his pain and delay proper treatment. Besides fever, symptoms of a sinus infection may include yellowish discharge from the nostrils, sinus pressure, headache, or coughing up discolored phlegm. Some individuals may also experience an unpleasant taste in the mouth. In addition to antibiotic therapy, a physician may recommend decongestants to reduce swollen membranes and promote free breathing.


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Post 3

I have a sinus infection right now. I always get post-nasal drip and cough with sinus infections. The only things that help is a netty-pot and a humidifier. The humidifier helps break up phlegm and the netty-pot flushes the phlegm out. I use decongestant medication as well.

If my symptoms don't improve after a few days, I'm going to see my doctor. I hope I won't need antibiotics but if I have to take antibiotics to get better, I will.

Post 2

@ZipLine-- No, they don't have to be. I've had plenty of sinus infections without a cough. The cough caused by post-nasal drip usually occurs when the infection lasts for a very long time. People with chronic and recurrent sinus infections experience them often. If you have a mild case of a sinus infection and get treatment soon, you may never develop a cough.

The stuffy feeling you are experiencing in your sinuses is actually the beginning of post-nasal drip. If the congestion does not decrease and continues to build, mucus will eventually start dripping from the sinus passages to the back of the throat. This causes a ticklish feeling in the throat and leads to coughing. If you don't have it, that's a good thing. It means that your infection is new and not severe.

Post 1

Are sinus infections always accompanied by a cough? I think I may have sinus infection symptoms. The area between my eyes, on my forehead, feels stuffy and I have a runny nose and eyes. But I don't have a cough.

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