What Are Rash and Sore Throat?

A sore throat can occur when your pharynx becomes inflamed or irritated.

A rash is inflammation that causes your skin to appear reddish. Rashes can be itchy, raised, and cause the skin to blister, look scaly, or feel sore. A rash’s nature and appearance can indicate possible causes.  

What Causes a Rash and Sore Throat?

Rash and sore throat can be inflammatory responses. Your body releases chemicals called histamines when you’re exposed to an allergen. While this is meant to be a protective mechanism, histamines can cause a skin rash, difficulty breathing, and a swollen throat.

Examples of allergens that can cause a rash and sore throat include:

  • chemicals: such as those found in latex and rubber products
  • ingredients: commonly found in makeup, skincare products, soap, detergent and perfume
  • dyes: such as those used in clothing
  • medications
  • plants: such as poison ivy, oak, or sumac

Viral and bacterial infections also can cause a rash and sore throat. Examples include:

  • fifth disease: a viral infection that more commonly infects children. A sore throat may occur at the start of symptoms and progress to a rash on the face that spreads to other parts of the body, including the chest, back, arms and buttocks.
  • mononucleosis: a viral infection that causes fever, sore throat, rash, and swollen lymph nodes
  • strep throat: from group A strep bacteria. The condition starts with a sore throat accompanied by a telltale rash that appears on the chest and neck. The rash typically feels like sandpaper and may start to peel.

When to Seek Medical Help

Allergic reactions that cause a rash and sore throat can range from mild to severe. A severe reaction is known as anaphylactic shock. It’s a medical emergency that can affect your breathing abilities, so seek immediate medical treatment if you’re experiencing this reaction.

Make an appointment to see your doctor if you suspect symptoms, such as fever, which may be the result of a viral or bacterial infection and don’t subside within two to three days. Seek medical attention if at any time the rash becomes so itchy that it feels unbearable or your skin is flaking and peeling.

This information is a summary. Always seek medical attention if you’re concerned you may be experiencing a medical emergency.

How Are a Rash and Sore Throat Treated?

Treatment for a rash and sore throat depends on the cause. For example, antihistamine medications can treat a rash and sore throat caused by an allergic reaction. In severe instances, epinephrine can help reduce swelling in the throat. 

While viral infections can’t be cured with medication, bacterial infections can. Your doctor can prescribe antibiotics to reduce the infection’s symptoms and duration.

Your doctor also can prescribe or recommend a topical lotion or spray to reduce itching and discomfort from a rash.

Home Care

Avoid scratching a rash to minimize its spread and prevent it from worsening. Keep the area dry and clean, using unscented, gentle soap and warm water. Applying calamine or hydrocortisone cream may help reduce and soothe the rash.

Gargling with warm salt water can help soothe a sore throat. Resting and drinking plenty of fluids can help to sustain the energy your body needs to heal. Take any medication prescribed to you as directed and until it’s gone—even if you feel better. This will ensure that bacteria are eradicated.

How Can I Prevent Rash and Sore Throat?

Frequent handwashing can help control the spread of infection. This includes washing your hands after sneezing, before and after eating, and after direct contact with others.

Avoiding common allergens like strongly scented cosmetics and cigarette smoke can reduce the likelihood that you’ll experience a reaction. Knowing which substances you’re allergic to can help you better avoid them and prevent unpleasant symptoms.