Is a Rash a Symptom of Strep Throat?

A rash can be a symptom of strep throat, but when it is present, the condition is actually called scarlet fever, according to Mayo Clinic. This is a very serious variation of the disease that mostly strikes children, but it can usually be cured with antibiotics. It is caused by toxins released by the bacteria that cause strep throat.

The rash of scarlet fever is red in color, with deeper reds around folds of skin, states Mayo Clinic. The rash has a texture like sandpaper and generally starts on the face and neck before spreading to the rest of the body. Pressing on part of the rash causes it to turn pale. The tongue also often shows a pale coating early in the disease but becomes red and bumpy later. Aside from the rash, other symptoms of scarlet fever include a fever of at least 101 degrees Fahrenheit, enlarged lymph nodes, severe sore throat, headache and nausea.

Without treatment, the bacteria can spread to the kidneys, lungs and middle ear, explains Mayo Clinic. Rarely, it can progress to rheumatic fever, which affects the nervous system, heart and joints. Aside from antibiotics, treatments include pain relief medications, saltwater gargles, humidification of the air and plenty of water to drink.