1 What is Roseola?

Roseola is a mild infection affecting children by the age of two years, very less often it affects adults.

Roseola is a very common disorder among children. So much so that most children who enter kindergarten have been infected by roseola.

Roseola is caused by herpes virus and typical signs are few days of fever sometimes roseola is so mild that there are no clear indications of illness.

While some experience full range of signs and symptoms. Roseola is not a very severe disorder and is fully treatable. 

2 Symptoms

Sometimes signs and symptoms of roseola don’t appear at all. It’s possible to be infected with roseola but with very mild symptoms which typically include:


Roseola starts with sudden high fever along with sore throat runny nose or cough. And this fever lasts 3-5 days.


Once the temperature becomes normal rash appears typically but may not be present always. These rashes are small pink spots flat or raised with a white ring around them starting from chest back and abdomen. Spreading to neck and arms. It may or may not reach the legs. The rashes are not itchy and can last from several hours to days.

Some additional symptoms include irritability of infants and children and diarrhea and swollen eyelids. It is possible for the child to have convulsion due to sudden spike in fever. It is advisable to seek immediate medical care.

It is recommended to visit a doctor if the fever and the rashes last more than seven days. If your immune system is depressed and you get in contact with a person infected with roseola then contact your doctor immediately and you should be monitored for possible infections which can be more severe.

3 Causes

The cause of roseola is human herpes virus 6. sometimes human herpes virus 7 can also be a causative factor.

Roseola spreads from person to person if someone gets into contact with infected persons’ respiratory secretions.

Roseola is an extremely contagious disease even in absence of rashes. Which means the condition spreads when the infected child has fever.

It is important to keep a watch on children’s illness. Roseola hardly results in community outbreak.

4 Making a Diagnosis

The diagnosis of roseola is based on the characteristic rash or blood test to check the presence of antibodies against roseola.

Seek doctor’s consultation if fever of the child lasts more than a week. Or exceeds 103F.

It is recommended to make a list of all questions that you might have about your child’s health.

Before visit to the doctor child must be given adequate rest and must drink large amounts of fluids.

The doctor would do a thorough physical checkup in which he will examine the skin lesions very carefully.

Will ask questions about history of fever and answers must be correct and informative.

If the child has fever it is proved that cold, ear infection, strep throat.

The diagnosis is based on the characteristic rash or blood test to check the presence of antibodies against roseola.

5 Treatment

There is no specific treatment for roseola.

In most of the cases without doctor’s consultation children with roseola recover within a week.

To decrease irritability of children, symptomatic treatment - which include over the counter medications to reduce fever such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be given.

Aspirin should not be used or should be used with caution because aspirin has been related to reye’s syndrome, a rare potentially life threatening condition, in such children.

Some doctors may prescribe the antiviral medication ganciclovir (Cytovene) to treat the infection in people with weakened immunity.

Antibiotics aren't effective in treating viral illnesses, such as roseola.

6 Prevention

Currently there is no vaccination available to prevent roseola. One of the most important way Is to prevent the spreading of roseola by avoiding contact with infected person.

If someone is sick with roseola that child or person should be isolated from others until the fever has faded off.

Another way is to follow hygiene and cleanliness simply washing hands frequently and prevent contact with infected person.

Adults who never contracted roseola can also become infected but generally it is mild.

In case of immunosuppression or weak immunity severe changes can appear. Adults should prevent contracting the virus because they can pass it in to children.

7 Lifestyle and Coping

Lifestyle modifications are necessary for your child during the course of roseola.

Roseola does not need much medical support because it needs to complete its course like other viruses.

When the fever subsides the child will feel better but the periods of fever are mostly uncomfortable.

At that time, it is recommended to rest and to drink clear fluids and sponge baths.

There is no specific treatment for the rashes of roseola they fade away on their own.

The child will stay at the home during the course of infection so it is recommended for parents to spend quality time with their children. 

8 Risks and Complications

There are several risks and complications associated with roseola.

Infants are at their greatest risk due to their immature immune system.

The most common age to acquire roseola is between six to twelve months. Rarely children experience seizure.

Due to quick raise in body is important to seek emergency care at that time. Complications of roseola are infrequent.

Children and adults with roseola recover quickly and completely. Another risk factor for roseola is weak immune system. Or those who recently received bone marrow or organ transplant.

Immunocompromised people mostly develop severe cases of infection and it becomes difficult to get rid of the illness.

Such people can have potentially severe complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis which are life threatening.