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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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.