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What are Common Causes of Sore Throat and Rash?

Sore throats and rashes can be alarming symptoms, often linked to infections like strep throat or viral illnesses such as measles. Allergies and certain medications can also trigger these reactions. Understanding the underlying causes is crucial for effective treatment. Curious about how to distinguish between them and when to seek medical attention? Let's explore these causes in detail.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

There are a number of common causes of sore throat and rash. Some of these are very serious and others are minor. Due to the potential severity of some of the conditions that can cause sore throat and rash, appearance of these two symptoms together is typically an indication to see a physician.

Many of the conditions that result in sore throat and rash are of viral origin. Viruses that cause hand, foot and mouth disease, measles, fifth disease, and mononucleosis can all present with these dual symptoms. Hand, foot and mouth disease is also called coxsackievirus and it most often affects younger children. The rash looks like blisters and is usually restricted to the hands, the bottom of the feet and the rear. Blisters may occur inside the mouth too and create a painful sore throat. Unlike some of the other illnesses that cause sore throat and rash, coxsackievirus often doesn’t need much treatment, unless high fever or infection occurs.

A crossection of the human head, including the throat.
A crossection of the human head, including the throat.

In contrast, measles can be a very serious illness that can be almost entirely prevented by vaccination. In developed countries, the movement toward not vaccinating children has led to more cases of measles with occasionally devastating complications. The rash associated with measles can have flat areas and also small pustules on the skin. As the condition advances the two rashes usually connect together. Other symptoms of measles include fever, cough, irritated eyes, and sore muscles.

Getting antibiotics from a doctor may be necessary.
Getting antibiotics from a doctor may be necessary.

Another potentially serious illness is Fifth disease. This is a common ailment in childhood, and usually poses little danger to children. The rash associated with this illness often first appears on the face. It then presents on the arms and legs. The major danger of Fifth disease occurs when pregnant women get it. It may result in birth defects, miscarriage, or stillbirth.

Mononucleosis may cause a sore throat and rash.
Mononucleosis may cause a sore throat and rash.

Mononucleosis rounds out the top four viral causes of sore throat and rash. The sore throat is prominent, rash may occur on the neck, face or chest, and sense of fatigue and slight fever may accompany these symptoms. Mono is usually uncomplicated but it can continue to cause symptoms for several weeks to several months.

There are plenty of bacterial causes of sore throat and rash. Sexually transmitted diseases like syphilis result in these symptoms. Strep bacteria is certainly a common cause of rash and sore throat as well.

Scarlet fever can cause a rash, strep throat and fever.
Scarlet fever can cause a rash, strep throat and fever.

When people develop a sandpaper-like rash with strep throat, they essentially have scarlet fever, and might have high fever, muscle aches, and abdominal upset, too. Diphtheria is another bacterial illness that may create sore throat and rash. In the vaccinated person, this disease is usually not a risk.

Additional causes of sore throat and rash can include complications of HIV, West Nile Virus, Ebola Virus, and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARs). Some people have allergic reactions to natural or chemical substances that will create simultaneous reactions in the sinuses, throat, and on the skin. These causes tend to be far less common.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent TheHealthBoard contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Learn more...
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent TheHealthBoard contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments

Rundocuri

As soon as you notice symptoms of a sore throat and rash, you should take your temperature to see if you have a fever. If so, it is even more urgent that you seek medical attention for a diagnosis and proper treatment.

Ocelot60

Don't try to treat a sore throat and rash on your own. If you can't afford to see a doctor, you should visit a low-cost clinic to find out what is causing these two symptoms.

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    • A crossection of the human head, including the throat.
      By: pixelcaos
      A crossection of the human head, including the throat.
    • Getting antibiotics from a doctor may be necessary.
      By: Alexander Raths
      Getting antibiotics from a doctor may be necessary.
    • Mononucleosis may cause a sore throat and rash.
      By: Artem Furman
      Mononucleosis may cause a sore throat and rash.
    • Scarlet fever can cause a rash, strep throat and fever.
      By: Ocskay Bence
      Scarlet fever can cause a rash, strep throat and fever.