A sore throat occurs when your pharynx, or throat, becomes inflamed or irritated. A rash is a change in the texture or color of your skin. Rashes can be itchy and raised, and can cause the skin to blister, look scaly, or feel sore. A rash’s nature and... Read more
A sore throat occurs when your pharynx, or throat, becomes inflamed or irritated.
A rash is a change in the texture or color of your skin. Rashes can be itchy and raised, and can 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, swollen throat?
A 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 and a swollen throat.
Sometimes, a rash and swollen throat along with difficulty breathing may indicate a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is usually a result of exposure to something known to cause allergic reactions, such as a bee sting or certain foods.
If you believe you or someone around you is experiencing anaphylaxis, call 911 immediately.
Viral and bacterial infections also can cause a rash and sore throat. These can include the following:
Fifth disease is a viral infection that commonly affects children between the ages of 5 and 15. A sore throat may occur in the early stage of the illness and progress to a rash on the face. It then spreads to other parts of the body, including the chest, back, arms, and buttocks. A rash is more likely to develop in children younger than 10 years old.
In addition to a rash and sore throat, fifth disease can cause coldlike symptoms including a stuffy or runny nose. Some children have a low-grade fever and complain of a headache. Most children recover quickly. There's no vaccine for fifth disease, but good hygiene such as regular hand-washing helps stop the spread of the infection.
Commonly called the “kissing disease,” this viral infection causes a fever, sore throat, rash, and swollen lymph nodes. Mononucleosis, or mono, is a contagious disease which spreads from person to person through contact with saliva and mucus. You can become ill after kissing someone with the virus, or sharing eating utensils and drinking glasses with an infected person.
Symptoms usually develop four to six weeks after exposure to the virus. Mono can be treated at home with plenty of rest and pain medication to manage fever, a sore throat, and headaches.
However, a burst spleen is a potential complication of mono, as is jaundice. See a doctor immediately if you experience sharp, severe pain in the upper section of your stomach, or note your skin or eyes turning yellow.
Strep throat and scarlet fever
Strep throat is caused by the group A streptococcus bacteria. The condition starts with a sore throat. Other symptoms of strep throat include white patches in the throat, swollen glands, fever, enlarged tonsils, difficulty swallowing. Some people may also have stomach pain, headaches, or a fever. Your doctor can diagnose strep throat after a rapid strep test or throat culture. Treatment involves a course of antibiotics.
If you have strep throat, you’re at risk for developing scarlet fever, which is due to a bacterial toxin. A sign of scarlet fever is a telltale bright red rash over your body, which typically feels like sandpaper and may peel. Some people who have scarlet fever also have a strawberry tongue, which appears red and bumpy.
Seek treatment if you suspect scarlet fever. If left untreated, the bacteria can spread to other parts of the body including the kidneys, blood, and lungs. Rheumatic fever is a complication of scarlet fever and can affect your heart, joints, and nervous system. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat scarlet fever.
When to seek medical help
Allergic reactions that cause a rash and swollen throat can range from mild to severe. A severe reaction is known as anaphylaxis. This is a medical emergency that can affect breathing. Seek immediate medical treatment if you experience this reaction.
Make a doctor’s appointment if you have a fever that doesn't subside within two to three days. This can be a sign of a viral or bacterial infection. Also, seek medical attention if a rash becomes unbearably itchy, your skin begins to flake and peel, or you feel you’re experiencing a medical emergency.
How are a rash and sore, swollen throat treated?
Treatment for a rash and sore, swollen throat depends on the cause. For example, antihistamine medications can treat a rash and swollen 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.
Avoid scratching a rash to minimize its spread and prevent it from worsening and becoming infected. 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 sustain the energy your body needs to heal. Take prescription medication as directed and until it’s gone to avoid a relapse — even if you feel better. If you develop a swollen throat rapidly and have difficulty breathing, you should be evaluated immediately in an emergency room.
How can I prevent rash and sore throat?
Frequent hand-washing helps 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 such as strongly scented cosmetics and cigarette smoke can reduce the likelihood of a reaction.
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