Roseola is a viral infection. It starts with a sudden, high fever. A rash follows.
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Certain herpes viruses cause roseola. Children get it from the saliva of people who carry the infection. It can be spread by:
- Kissing or other close contact
- Droplets from coughs or sneezes
Roseola is more common in children under 3 years old. The risk is higher among children in close contact.
Common symptoms are:
A sudden, high fever:
- 103°F-105°F (39.4°C-40.5°C)—may cause seizures in some children
- Lasts 3 to 5 days
A rose-colored rash:
- Starts within 3 days after the fever
- On the chest and belly first, then may spread
- Lasts for a few hours to a few days
- Does not itch
- Swollen glands in the neck
- Lack of hunger
The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This is enough to make the diagnosis.
Roseola goes away on its own in a few days. The goal of treatment is to ease symptoms. The doctor may advise medicines to lower the child’s fever.
Note : Aspirin can be harmful to children who have or had a viral infection.
The risk of roseola is lowered by having children:
- Wash their hands often
- Stay away from other children who have it
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians https://familydoctor.org
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics https://www.healthychildren.org
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children https://www.aboutkidshealth.ca
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca
Ko H, Shin S, et al. Predicting factors of roseola infantum infected with human herpesvirus 6 from urinary tract infection. Child Kidney Dis 2016; 20(2): 69-73.
Roseola infantum. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/skin/Pages/Roseola-Infantum.aspx. Accessed February 1, 2021.
Roseola. Nemour Kids Health website. Available at: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/roseola.html. Accessed February 1, 2021.
Roseola. Patient website. Available at: https://patient.info/health/viral-rashes/roseola. Accessed February 1, 2021.
Roseola infantum. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/roseola-infantum . Accessed February 1, 2021.
- Reviewer: David L. Horn, MD, FACP
- Review Date: 09/2020
- Update Date: 02/01/2021