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What is Roseola?

Publisher/Author : Pacific Cross

This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)


What is Roseola?

Roseola is a condition characterized by fever and skin rash that may be flat or raised. It’s common in children and caused by human herpesvirus 6 or, occasionally, human herpesvirus 7.

Roseola is usually harmless and can be treated with rest and medication. In rare cases, roseola may cause high fever, leading to complication. There are two type of rash fever, including Scarlet fever and roseola.


What are the symptoms of Roseola?

It generally takes a week or two for signs and symptoms of roseola to appear. Sometimes, signs and symptoms may be very mild or may not be visible at all. Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Fever. Roseola typically starts with a sudden, high fever — often greater than 39.4oC. Some children also may have a sore throat, runny nose or cough along with or preceding the fever. Your child may also develop swollen lymph nodes in his or her neck along with the fever. The fever lasts three to five days.
  • Rash. Once the fever subsides, a rash typically appears — but not always. The rash consists of many small pink spots or patches. These spots are generally flat, but some may be raised. There may be a white ring around some of the spots. The rash usually starts on the chest, back and abdomen and then spreads to the neck and arms. It may or may not reach the legs and face. The rash, which isn’t itchy or uncomfortable, can last from several hours to several days before fading.

Other signs and symptoms of roseola may include:

  • Irritability in infants and children
  • Mild diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Swollen eyelids

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor. The first signs and symptoms of roseola may resemble those of Dengue fever. You should learn how to distinguish roseola and Dengue fever.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if your child has any of the following:

  • Your child has a fever greater than 39.4oC
  • Your child has roseola and the fever lasts more than seven days
  • The rash doesn’t improve after three days
  • If your child’s immune system is compromised and your child come in contact with someone who has roseola

If your child has any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.


What causes Roseola?

Is roseola contagious? The answer is yes. It’s an infection brought on by human herpesvirus 6 or, occasionally, human herpesvirus 7. Roseola spreads from person to person through physical contact with an infected person or their personal belongings. For example, a healthy child who shares a cup with a child who has roseola could contract the virus. Roseola doesn’t spread through casual commnunication.
Adults who never had roseola may develop it if they come into contact with infected children. However, healthy adults are less likely to get severe roseola. Even if you only have light fever with no visible rash, you may still spread the infection to your children and other family members.

Risk factors

Who are more likely to get roseola?

Roseola is common in infants and children between 6 months to 2 years old. Most children get in in daycare. Sometimes, adults may get roseola, too. Consult with your doctor for further information.

What increases my risk for Roseola?

Kindergarten kids are most likely to get roseola due to their underdeveloped immune system. Moreover, the classroom environment increases the risk of spreading infection from one child to another. The most common age for a child to contract roseola is between 6 and 15 months.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is Roseola diagnosed?

Doctors diagnose roseola with the child’s medical history and a physical exam. They’ll know for sure it’s roseola when the child has rash and fever, or they may order a blood test to check for antibodies to roseola.

How is Roseola treated?

Your doctor may prescribe medication for high fever. Common medication for fever include acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin). You should wipe your child’s body with water to reduce fever. If you give medication to an infant, follow your doctor’s presciption closely. Avoid giving aspirin to those under 20 years old due to the risk of Reye’s syndrome.
If symptoms are not severe, roseola may go away on its own without treatment.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage Roseola?

If your child has roseola, let them rest in bed to avoid spreading the infection to other children.
If you are infected or have to take care of infected children, wash your had regularly to avoid spreading the infection to those with a compromised immune system.
Encourage your child to drink plain water, ginger tea, lemonade soda, meat broth, mineral water or sports drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade to prevent dehydration.

What to avoid for a speedy recovery?

  • Don’t let your child stay in closed  and humid space.
  • Don’t let your child scratch the rash.
  • Be careful during bath time. When having roseola, the body is weak. If you are not careful while bathing your child, they may get the flu or other serious disease.
  • Don’t let your child go to public or crowed places.
  • Don’t let your child come into contact with cleaning agents, body wash, dusts, chemicals, and pet furs to prevent complications.
  • Don’t let your child wear tight clothes or clothes made from fabrics that may irritate the skin.
  • Don’t feed your child eggs, cold water, ice, ice-cream, or foods that are hard to digest.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

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