A burning throat may be a symptom of a respiratory infection or another health condition, such as allergies or acid reflux. Treatment depends on the underlying cause and additional symptoms.
Burning or pain in your throat usually isn’t a cause for concern. A sore throat is typically caused by a common infection, like a cold or strep throat. Only rarely does a serious condition cause this symptom.
When a medical condition causes a burning throat, you’ll usually have other symptoms along with it. Here’s what to watch for and when to see a doctor.
Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux, which refers to the
Heartburn and GERD symptoms
The harsh acid creates a burning sensation in the back of your throat and chest. It may also give you a sour or bitter taste in your throat and mouth. These symptoms can range from mild to extreme.
Other symptoms of GERD include:
Your symptoms may get worse after a big meal or when you lie down in bed at night.
Heartburn and GERD treatment
A doctor may also recommend lifestyle changes to help you find relief, including:
The mucus that normally lines your nose can build up to the point where it drips down the back of your throat. This is called postnasal drip.
Postnasal drip may have several causes, such as:
Postnasal drip symptoms
The constant drip of fluid can irritate the back of your throat. Eventually, postnasal drip can make your tonsils swell up and feel sore.
Other symptoms associated with postnasal drip include:
- tickle in your throat
- frequent swallowing
- throat clearing
- bad breath
Postnasal drip treatment
Strep throat is a
Strep throat may be very contagious. Here’s how to prevent transmission.
Strep throat symptoms
The main symptom is a sore throat without a cough. The pain can be so severe that it hurts to swallow.
- red, swollen tonsils that may also appear to have white patches or streaks
- red bumps on the roof of the mouth
- swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- stomach pain
Strep throat treatment
Strep throat is often treated with antibiotics. A simple throat swab can confirm the diagnosis so you can get proper treatment. Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers can also help soothe your symptoms.
You should start feeling better within a day or two of starting antibiotics.
In addition to a sore throat, other common cold symptoms include:
There’s no one treatment for a cold. However, some OTC pain-relieving medications and home remedies can help alleviate symptoms, such as:
Cold symptoms may last up to
Influenza, also known as the flu, is a contagious viral illness. It causes many of the same symptoms as a cold, including a sore throat.
Symptoms may start within
Your treatment plan for the flu may include a combination of:
It’s important to speak with a healthcare professional within
The virus transmits through bodily fluids like saliva, which is why it’s sometimes called the “kissing disease.” It occurs in around
Symptoms usually appear
- extreme tiredness
- body aches
- swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits
- swelling in the liver or spleen
There’s no specific treatment, like antibiotics, for mono. However, taking some steps may help relieve symptoms and promote healing, including:
- using OTC pain relievers or fever reducers
- getting plenty of rest
- staying hydrated
Peritonsillar abscess is an infection of the head and neck. It
Peritonsillar abscess is often a complication of tonsillitis. If you don’t treat this condition, the swelling can push your tonsil into the middle of your throat and block your breathing.
Peritonsillar abscess symptoms
Other than a swollen, painful throat and difficulty breathing, symptoms can also include:
- trouble swallowing or opening your mouth wide
- swollen lymph nodes in your neck
Peritonsillar abscess treatment
Prompt treatment is important. If left untreated, the abscess can spread the infection to other areas of the body. The peritonsillar abscess may become so large that it could also block the airway.
Burning mouth syndrome is a condition where you feel like you’ve burned or scalded the inside of your mouth and throat even though you haven’t. It may be caused by problems with nerves or a condition like dry mouth.
Burning mouth syndrome symptoms
The burning pain can be in your
- numbness or tingling
- altered or lost sense of taste
- increased thirst
Burning mouth syndrome treatment
Treatment often includes working with a dentist to manage habits like grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw. In some cases, medication may also be prescribed to help manage pain.
Lifestyle tips like sipping on a cold beverage, sucking on ice chips, or chewing sugarless gum may also help you find relief.
- chest pain
- sore throat
- difficulty swallowing
Diagnosing the underlying cause of esophagitis is necessary to guide treatment decisions.
Left untreated, esophagitis can lead to ulcers, scarring, and narrowing of the esophagus. These can be a medical emergency, so it’s important to seek proper diagnosis and treatment.
In rare cases, pain or burning when you swallow can be a symptom of esophageal or throat cancer. That said, it’s important to remember that colds, the flu, and other infections are more common causes of a sore throat.
A burning throat from an infection should improve within a week or two. With cancer, the pain won’t go away.
Esophageal cancer may also cause symptoms like:
- difficulty swallowing
- a lump in the neck
- ear pain or ringing in the ears
- heartburn or indigestion
- unexplained weight loss
If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, talk with a doctor. They can determine the cause and advise you on any next steps.
When your throat feels raw and sore, the following tips may help you find relief:
- Gargle with a mixture of 8 ounces of warm water and a 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- Suck on a throat lozenge.
- Drink warm liquids, such as tea with honey. Or, eat ice cream. Both cold and heat feel good on a sore throat.
- Turn on a cool-mist humidifier to add moisture to the air. This may help prevent your throat from drying out.
- Take an OTC pain reliever like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil).
- Drink lots of extra fluids, especially water.
Oftentimes, a sore throat will get better within a few days. That said, speak with a healthcare professional if the pain continues for more than 1 week, it’s unusually severe, or you also experience any of the following symptoms:
- fever of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher
- trouble swallowing or opening your mouth
- difficulty breathing
- blood in your saliva or phlegm
- a rash
How can I make a throat burning sensation go away?
Treatment for a burning throat will depend on the underlying cause. In some cases, you may need antibiotics, antivirals, or even surgery. That said, some tips to help relieve a burning throat sensation include gargling salt water, sucking on throat lozenges, and taking OTC pain relievers.
How do you neutralize acid in your throat?
Some natural ways to help treat acid reflux in your throat include drinking cold milk and eating a cucumber. If these don’t work, a healthcare professional may prescribe medications like H2 blockers. These help reduce the production of stomach acid.
Why do I wake up with a burning sensation in my throat?
Symptoms of infections like strep throat, common cold, or mononucleosis don’t appear immediately upon contracting the virus. This means you can wake up with a burning sensation in your throat a few days after contracting a virus.
A burning sensation in your throat may be caused by the common cold. It’s usually not cause for concern.
That said, a burning throat may also be a sign of an underlying health condition that requires medical treatment.
Speak with a healthcare professional if your burning throat persists, worsens, or is accompanied by other symptoms. They can provide a proper diagnosis and develop a treatment plan that’s right for you.