What Are the Causes of a Cough With Rash?


Many times, viruses that lead to upper respiratory infections can cause skin rashes, but instead of treating the rash, which can become quite irritating and itchy, you need to treat the upper respiratory infection instead.

Q Fever

  • The bacterial infection, Q fever, is caused by the introduction of bacteria called Coxiella burnetii, which is carried by domestic animals like cats, birds and cattle. Most often it is caused by drinking unpasteurized milk or breathing in air that has animal fecal particles in it. The common symptoms of Q fever are dry coughs, headaches, joint pain and, of course, a rash.


  • Another cause of both a rash and cough is syphilis, which is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Usually the disease is contracted by contact with another person's sore during sexual intercourse. The bacteria that cause the STD are called treponema pallidum, which are light sensitive. You cannot contract it by using the same toilet or clothes as the infected person.


  • Another cause of both a rash and coughing is measles. Measles is spread either through the air or through direct contact with someone who already is infected and is extremely contagious.

Strep Throat

  • One common cause of both a cough and a rash is strep throat, a bacterial infection that affects the throat and the tonsils. The most common effects of strep throat include swollen and irritated throat and tonsils that will turn into a very brutal sore throat. A common misconception about strep throat is that many times when someone thinks they have it, they actually do not. When a severe sore throat is accompanied by sneezing or a runny or stuffy nose, it is most often not strep throat. Antibiotics are used to treat strep throat, but often are not needed. It usually takes about a week for strep throat to dissipate.


  • With all of these viruses, treatment is needed with antibiotics. If your physician feels you do not need antibiotics, which often is the case with strep throat, he will tell you to drink a lot of fluids and keep to yourself so you do not spread the virus.

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