Roseola Rash

Written by Dr. Mary

What is Roseola Rash?

This is usually a very mild infection normally affecting children by the age of 2. It can sometimes affect adults. Roseola is so common – that many children have already been infected with this illness by the time they begin kindergarten.


There are 2 common types of herpes viruses that cause roseola. This condition classically results in a number of days of fever which is trailed by a rash.

There are some children who develop an actual minor case of roseola but never show any indication of being ill, while there are others who involve the full assortment of symptoms.

Typically roseola is not serious. There are rarely any complications except for an extremely high fever. The management of roseola consists of bed rest, medications and fluids to reduce fever.

Roseola Rash Symptoms

If a child in your family has been exposed to another child who has roseola and gets infected by the virus, it normally takes about one week or even two for symptoms and signs of the infection to begin – if they are going to appear. It is likely to be infected by roseola, but develop no symptoms or signs or the symptoms are too minor to be noticeable. These symptoms can consists of:

Fever

Roseola normally begins with a high and sudden fever –higher than 103 F in some cases. In some children there may be a slight sore throat, cough, runny nose together with or prior to any fever. The child can develop lymphatic nodes which are swollen in the neck accompanying the fever. This fever normally lasts for 3 to 5 days.

Rash

When the fever leaves, a rash will normally appear – but not each time. This rash comprises many pink small patches or spots. The spots generally are flat but can be raised. There often can be a white ring surrounding some of these spots. This rash normally starts on the back, abdomen and chest and then will spread to the arms and neck. It may not or may reach the face and legs. This rash, which is not uncomfortable or itchy may remain for several hours to days prior to fading away.

Other symptoms and signs of roseola can include:

  • Irritability in children and infants
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea that is mild
  • Decreased appetite
  • Eyelids are swollen

Any child with a high fever can have a febrile seizure or convulsion. But normally by the time an individual notices the child’s high temperature, this risk of a convulsion has already passed. But if the child does have a surprising or baffling seizure, pursue medical attention immediately.

If the fever lasts longer than a week or the rash does not improve after 3 days, call the child’s physician.

If an individual has a compromised immune system and comes in contact with anyone with roseola, talk to your physician. It may be necessary to monitor for a probable infection as under these conditions it could possibly be more severe than it is for a child.

Roseola Rash Causes

The common cause for this illness is the human herpes virus 6 or HHV6 but it also may be caused by another herpes virus – human herpes virus 7 or HHV7.

Just like any viral illnesses for instance the common cold, roseola is contagious and extents from person to person thru respiratory secretions or saliva. A healthy child shares a cup with an infected child and will contract this virus.

This condition is spreadable even when there is no rash present. This means the illness may spread although the infected child only has a fever – before it is known that the child has roseola. Parents need to watch for symptoms of roseola if their child has been in contact with a different child with roseola.

But unlike chickenpox or other viral illnesses of childhood that rapidly spread, roseola very rarely causes a class-wide outbreak. As well the contagion can happen at any period of the year.

Roseola Rash Treatment

The majority of children will fully recover from this illness within a week from the onset of the fever. If your doctor advises, the child can be given over-the-counter medicine to reduce any fever such as acetaminophen such as Tylenol, or ibuprofen such as Motrin or Advil. Do not give aspirin to any child who has a viral sickness due to aspirin being associated with the development of Reye’s syndrome that is very serious.

There is no treatment for roseola, but some physicians might prescribe an antiviral medication known as Cytovene to treat the illness in those with weakened immunity. Antibiotics are not effective in the treatment of viral infections, such as roseola.

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Roseola rash Pictures

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One response so far

  1. This was extremely helpful. The information given is easily understood and the pictures that are listed give a great view of the virus/rash.

    Thank you.

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