Roseola is a viral infection that commonly affects infants and young children. It involves a pinkish-red skin rash and high fever.
Roseola is common in children ages 3 months to 4 years, and most common in those ages 6 months to 1 year.
It is caused by a virus called human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6), although similar syndromes are possible with other viruses.
The time between becoming infected and the beginning of symptoms (incubation period) is 5 to 15 days.
The first symptoms include:
- Eye redness
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- High fever, that comes on quickly and may be as high as 40° Celsius and can last 3 to 7 days
About 2 - 4 days after becoming sick, the child's fever lowers and a rash appears. This rash usually:
- Starts on the middle of the body and spreads to the arms, legs, neck, and face.
- Pink or rose-colored,
- Has small sores that are slightly raised
Figure: Pink, flat, or slightly raised bumps around 2 to 3 mm in diameter are typical of roseola
The rash lasts from a few hours to 2 - 3 days. It usually does not itch.
Your health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about the child's medical history. The child may have swollen lymph nodes in the neck or back of the scalp.
There is no specific treatment for roseola. The disease usually gets better on its own without complications.
Acetaminophen and cool sponge baths can help reduce the fever. Some children may have seizures when they get high fevers. If this occurs, call your doctor or go to the closest emergency room.
Call your health care provider if your child:
- Has a fever that does not go down with acetaminophen or ibuprofen and a cool bath
- Continues to appear very sick
- Is irritable or seems extremely tired
Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number if your child has convulsions.
Careful handwashing can help prevent the spread of the viruses that cause roseola.
Exanthem subitum; Sixth disease