Roseola

Roseola is an infection characterized by a sudden onset of high fever followed by a rash. The infection usually ends on its own without complications.

  • Causes


    Roseola is usually caused by a specific herpes viruses. These viruses are not the same as the herpes viruses that cause
    cold sores
    or
    genital herpes.

  • Definition

    Roseola is an infection characterized by a sudden onset of high fever followed by a rash. The infection usually ends on its own without complications.

    Roseola
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  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Usually other tests are not needed. Often, there is a history of other children with roseola in the community.

  • Prevention

    To help prevent the spread of roseola, avoid contact with an infected child when possible. The incubation period is 5-15 days. The virus is thought to be spread by contact with infected saliva. Carefully and frequently wash your hands to help prevent the spread of roseola.

  • Risk Factors

    Roseola is more common in children aged 6 months to 3 years (6-15 months is most common), and during the spring and fall months. Contact with an infected child is rarely reported.

  • Symptoms

    Roseola may cause:


    • Fever

      • 103°F to 105°F
      • Begins suddenly
        and is not associated with other symptoms
      • Lasts 3 days,
        sometimes a day or two longer
    • Convulsions may occur in association with high fever in up to 5% to 10% of children

    • A rash that develops 12-24 hours after the fever

      • Appears on the chest and abdomen first
      • Rose-colored
      • May spread to arms, legs, neck, and face
      • Lasts for a few hours to a few days
        and does not itch

    • Other symptoms or signs may include:

      • Swelling of lymph nodes in the neck and behind the ears
      • Irritability
      • Poor appetite
      • Upper respiratory tract infection symptoms that may occur before the fever

    The appearance of a rash after the fever disappears is the characteristic sign of roseola.

  • Treatment

    No treatment is needed for roseola unless the child has a weakened immune system. The most important treatment is to keep the fever down and drink plenty of fluids.

    Talk to your doctor about how to bring the fever down through:

    • Medications such as
      acetaminophen
      or
      ibuprofen
    • Lukewarm sponge baths
    • Plenty of fluids
    • Note:
      Aspirin is not recommended for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with your doctor before giving your child aspirin.

    Call your doctor if your child has a seizure and/or the fever persists.