Burning Throat: Symptoms, Causes, And Home Remedies

If your throat feels like it's on fire, you may want to hurry and find what started it.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Saba, BHMS, MD
Written by Sanchari Bhattacharya, BCom, Certificate In Natural Medicine
Edited by Arshiya Syeda, BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Dip
Fact-checked by Dipti Sharma, MA (English)  • 

A burning throat may be a common symptom of an infection or an underlying medical condition. It may occur on its own or may be accompanied by other symptoms. Most of the time, a burning throat can be treated at home but sometimes it requires timely medical intervention. In this article, find out about the different causes of a burning throat and the right time to seek medical treatment. Along with these, we provide a few simple ways on how to get rid of burning sensation in the throat. Scroll down to know more information.

What Is Burning Throat?

A burning sensation results from inflammation at the back of the throat. When your body responds to an injury or foreign substance, it increases blood circulation and causes swelling and pain in the back of your throat. Burning throat is one of the most common reasons why people visit the doctor every year (1).The burning sensation in your inflamed throat may be accompanied by other symptoms as well. Let’s move on to the next section to find out what they are.

Symptoms That Accompany Burning Throat

The following symptoms are (1):

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Throat pain
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fatigue
  • Hoarseness

All the above symptoms along with your throat burns may be indicative of an underlying medical condition. Let’s see what they are in the next section.

Major Causes For Burning In Throat

You can develop a burning sensation in your throat due to any of the following medical conditions:

1. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Woman dealing with gastroesophageal reflux disease
Image: Shutterstock

When the esophagus is weak or too relaxed, it allows the stomach acid to flow back into it, creating a burning sensation in your throat. This is also called heartburn (2). The following is a list of symptoms of GERD that accompany heartburn:

  • Sour/ acidic taste in the mouth
  • Lump in the throat
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chest pain

protip_icon Trivia
The prevalence of GERD in North America is estimated at 18.1% to 27.8%. Older age, obesity, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle are major risk factors for GERD (2).

A research study was conducted on 2,002 participants to determine the prevalence of GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease). It was observed that 27.9% had typical symptoms of this condition. It was further noted that the majority of typical GERD symptoms that appeared monthly or weekly was 16.5% and 6.8% respectively.

2. Infectious Mononucleosis

Also known as the “kissing disease”, mono is an infectious disease that is characterized by pharyngitis or inflammation at the back of the throat. Caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), mono can be transmitted through oral contact or sharing of drinks and utensils. Commonly seen in teenagers, pharyngitis is accompanied by other symptoms such as (3):

  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • A sore throat
  • Decreased appetite
  • Headache

3. Post-nasal Drip

A common symptom of a post-nasal drip is a blocked nose
Image: Shutterstock

When your body comes in contact with foreign substances like pathogens or irritants, it results in inflammation of the pharynx, accompanied by mucus accumulation in your throat. This mucus build-up starts dripping down the back of your throat, which causes a sore or burning sensation called post-nasal drip. Some of the other symptoms associated with post-nasal drip are (4):

  • Tickling cough
  • Blocked nose
  • Brown, sticky mucus

4. Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis is the inflammation of the tonsils as a result of a bacterial or viral infection. Tonsils are lumps of tissue at the back of your throat that act as a defensive barrier against inhaled pathogens. Tonsillitis have symptoms such as (5):

  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Tonsillar exudate – fluid secreted by tonsils
  • Dysphagia – trouble swallowing

5. Burning Mouth Syndrome

Woman dealing with burning mouth syndrome
Image: Shutterstock

Characterized by a burning sensation in your mouth and throat, burning mouth syndrome may be a result of an allergic reaction to food or infection. It is accompanied by symptoms such as (6):

  • Pain in your mouth
  • Dry mouth
  • Sour or bitter taste in your mouth

6. Esophageal Cancer

In rare cases, inflammation of the throat may be a sign of esophageal cancer (7). Considered as the 8th most common cancer worldwide, the following are symptoms associated with esophageal cancer (8) :

  • Trouble swallowing
  • Chest pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Painful swallowing

7. Esophagitis

Esophagitis is the inflammation of the esophagus caused by infections, injury, or radiation. A few common symptoms of esophagitis include (9):

  • Heartburn
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Chronic cough
  • Chest pain

8. Allergies

Individuals with a protein intolerance may be unable to properly digest it. This can lead to allergic reactions in the gut, which may cause throat burning. One may also feel itchiness on the lips, tongue, or palate (10). The symptoms of protein allergy can coincide with other symptoms including:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Swelling on the face
  • Skin rashes

9. Strep Throat

Streptococcal infection may cause a sore throat. A person may experience symptoms such as burning sensation in the throat, difficulty when swallowing, irritation, or scratchiness (11). They may also experience other symptoms like fever and chills (12). The doctors usually prescribe antibiotics to treat this bacterial infection.

Anne Butera, a blogger, shared her reaction to a turmeric, ginger, and hot pepper tea she drinks to relieve her sore throat: “The hot pepper will burn or tingle a bit, which I found very soothing, relieving the pain in my throat. I felt so much better each time I had some, and I think I’ll probably keep experimenting with different flavor combinations (i).”

If the burning sensation continues to cause you distress, you can try the following home remedies in the next section to provide you some relief.

Best Home Remedies To Treat Burning Sensation In The Throat

Drink honey or lemon tea to relieve a burning throat
Image: Shutterstock

A few home remedies can go a long way in soothing the sore or burning sensation in your throat.

  • Get as much rest as possible.
  • Drink lots of water to reduce the dryness and soreness in your throat.
  • Drink warm liquids such as honey, lemon, or ginger tea.
  • Have warm chicken soup.
  • Suck on ice chips to help reduce the burning sensation in your mouth and throat.
  • Gargle with lukewarm salt water to help reduce the soreness (13).
  • Suck on lozenges and candies to provide relief to your sore throat (14).
  • Take over-the-counter pain medications such as Ibuprofen or Advil for throat inflammation.

Now we know how to soothe a burning throat with simple and effective remedies. Keep in mind that even with home remedies, throat burns may stay on for some time. In that case, visiting your doctor is the best thing to do.

When To See A Doctor

Doctor checking a woman’s throat
Image: Shutterstock

If the home remedies fail to ease your throat irritation and your burning throat persists for more than 10 days, check with your doctor. Also, if your burning throat is accompanied by the following symptoms, you need medical assistance:

  • Fever
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Throat discomfort while swallowing
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Pus in your throat
  • Hoarseness

Once your doctor diagnoses the cause behind your burning sore throat, they will offer you a wide range of treatment options. Let’s see what they are.

Other Treatment Options

Depending on the severity and cause of your condition, the following medications may be applicable:

  • If the reason behind your throat burning is mono or esophagitis, treating with antivirals, such as acyclovir or aciclovir, is the best option.
  • When it comes to tonsillitis, penicillin or any other antibiotic is given for reducing the severity of the symptoms. Completing the course of medication is essential in preventing the risk of reinfection.
  • For the treatment of GERD, doctors prescribe antacids or histamine receptor blockers. These are prescribed to lower the throat burning sensation and the amount of acid in the stomach.
protip_icon Quick Tip
Taking decongestants or antihistamines may help relieve burning throat due to post-nasal drip.

Since prevention is better than cure, let’s check out the different preventive measures we can take in the next section.

How To Prevent Burning In Throat

  • To avoid or lower the risk of developing a burning throat, you can try the following tips: Regularly wash your hands to avoid infection.
  • Avoid contact with triggers or allergens.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask to avoid environmental pollutants.
  • Drink warm water every day to keep your throat hydrated.
  • Do not share utensils and personal items with the infected individual.
  • Eat food that boosts your immune system to reduce the risk of developing an infection.
  • Limit or avoid smoking.
  • Avoid acidic foods and drinks that may worsen the burning feeling in your throat.

To Sum It Up

Underlying medical conditions such as GERD and tonsillitis can cause a burning throat. Drinking plenty of water, sufficient rest, and avoiding certain foods are key to keeping that burning sensation under control. If these home remedies fail to treat your throat discomfort and the symptoms persist for more than 10 days, seek medical treatment. Medications prescribed by your doctor and taking preventive measures can keep that burning throat at bay.

Infographic: 6 Ways To Treat A Burning Throat Easily

While a burning throat may be a minor problem, dealing with it right away is crucial. If it is something that you are handling currently and looking for the best simple ways to relieve it, check out the infographic below. These top 6 remedies will help you bid goodbye to a burning throat.

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Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can anxiety cause a burning throat?

Anxiety may cause a tight and sore throat that could feel similar to a burning throat.

How long does a burning throat last?

A burning throat may last for a few days, or till the issue causing the burning throat is treated. If it persists beyond 10 days, it may need medical attention.

Can a burning throat be a sign of something serious?

While a burning throat can be caused by various medical conditions mentioned above, sometimes it can be a sign of something much serious, like throat cancer. Seek medical attention if the burning throat persists, is severe, or is accompanied by other symptoms such as difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, or coughing up blood.

Key Takeaways

  • The symptoms of the burning throat include redness, swelling, fever, headaches, throat pain, trouble swallowing, nausea and vomiting, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, and hoarseness.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), infectious mononucleosis, post-nasal drip, tonsillitis, and esophageal cancer are some of the reasons behind it.
  • One of the early symptoms of COVID-19 is a sore or irritated throat.

Burning throat can be caused by various reasons like acid reflux, allergies, or dryness. Watch this video to learn about treatments to help relieve the discomfort and prevent future occurrences.


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

    i. Turmeric, Ginger and Hot Pepper Tea — A Soothing, Warming, Immune Boosting Pick-Me-Up


    Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

    1. Pharyngitis and sore throat: A review
    2. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
    3. Infectious Mononucleosis
    4. Postnasal drip syndrome. Two hundred years of controversy between UK and USA
    5. Tonsillitis
    6. Burning Mouth Syndrome
    7. Esophageal cancer: A Review of epidemiology pathogenesis staging workup and treatment modalities
    8. Esophageal cancer: Diagnosis and management
    9. Esophagitis
    10. Protein Intolerance
    11. The patient with sore throat
    12. Streptococcal Infections
    13. Randomised Controlled Trial of Salt Solution (Sodium Chloride) Mouth Wash vs Thymol Glycerine Usage in Sore Throat with Non Bacterial Pharyngitis
    14. A multicentre randomised double-blind single-dose study assessing the efficacy of AMC/DCBA Warm lozenge or AMC/DCBA Cool lozenge in the relief of acute sore throat
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