Roseola: Symptom, Treatment

Overview

Roseola is a common viral infection in kids that mostly affects children between 6 and 24 months old.

It is also known as roseola infantum or sixth disease.

Cause

Roseola is most often caused by exposure to the human herpes virus (HHV) type 6. The illness can also be caused by another herpes virus, known as human herpes 7.

Roseola is spread through small droplets of fluid, usually when someone coughs, talks, or sneezes.

The incubation period for roseola is about 14 days. This means a child with roseola who hasn’t yet developed symptoms can easily spread the infection to another child.

Roseola outbreaks can occur at any time of the year.

Symptom

A child may not have any symptoms for 5-15 days after getting the virus that causes roseola. If symptoms appear, signs and symptoms are too mild to be readily noticeable.

Typical roseola symptoms may include:

Fever
Roseola typically starts with a sudden, high fever—often greater than 103 F (39.4 °C).

Some children also may have a sore throat, runny nose or cough along with or preceding 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. 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,
  • eyelid swelling,
  • ear pain,
  • decreased appetite,
  • swollen glands,
  • mild diarrhea,
  • sore throat or mild cough,
  • febrile seizures.

Diagnosis

A diagnosis is usually based on clinical signs and symptoms, and by ruling out other causes for the symptoms. A diagnosis is usually made based on the appearance of the characteristic rash, but it may need to be confirmed by a blood test to check for antibodies to roseola.

Treatment

There is currently no vaccine available to prevent infection with the viruses that cause roseola. Fortunately, roseola is a relatively mild infection that will go away without treatment. It is best treated by managing symptoms and keeping the infected person well rested and hydrated.

Acetaminophen or ibuprofen are usually recommended to treat a high fever and are safe for children.

If your child is infected with roseola, please consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Keywords: roseola; roseola infantum; sixth disease.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.