CRDAMC Homepage | CRDAMC Library Phone #: (254) 288-8366 | CRDAMC Library Fax #: (254) 288-8368

Search Health Library

Roseola

(Exanthem Subitum; Roseola Infantum)

Definition

Roseola is an infection characterized by a sudden onset of high fever followed by a rash. The infection usually ends on its own without complications.

Roseola

Nucleus factsheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes    TOP

Roseola is usually caused by specific herpes viruses. These viruses are different than the herpes viruses that cause cold sores or genital herpes.

Risk Factors    TOP

Roseola is more common in children aged 6 months to 3 years old (6-15 months old is most common), and during the spring and fall months. Contact with an infected child is rarely reported.

Symptoms    TOP

Roseola may cause:

  • Fever
    • 103°F to 105°F
    • Begins suddenly and is not associated with other symptoms
    • Lasts 3 days, sometimes 1-2 days longer
  • Convulsions may occur in association with high fever in up to 5% to 10% of children
  • A rash that develops 12-24 hours after the fever
    • Appears on the chest and abdomen first
    • Rose-colored
    • May spread to arms, legs, neck, and face
    • Lasts for a few hours to a few days and does not itch
  • Other symptoms or signs may include:
    • Swelling of lymph nodes in the neck and behind the ears
    • Irritability
    • Poor appetite
    • Upper respiratory tract infection symptoms that may occur before the fever

The appearance of a rash after the fever disappears is the characteristic sign of roseola.

Diagnosis    TOP

The doctor will ask about symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Usually other tests are not needed. Often, there is a history of other children with roseola in the community.

Treatment    TOP

No treatment is needed for roseola unless the child has a weakened immune system. The most important treatment is to keep the fever lower and drink plenty of fluids.

Talk to the doctor about how to bring the fever down through:

  • Medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Dressing your child lightly
  • Plenty of fluids
  • Note : Aspirin is not recommended for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with your doctor before giving your child aspirin.

Call your doctor if your child has a seizure and/or the fever persists.

Prevention    TOP

To help prevent the spread of roseola, avoid contact with an infected child when possible. The incubation period is 5-15 days. The virus is thought to be spread by contact with infected saliva. Carefully and frequently wash your hands to help prevent the spread of roseola.

RESOURCES:

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
http://familydoctor.org
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
https://www.healthychildren.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca

References:

Roseola. Nemour Kids Health website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated January 2015. Accessed November 22, 2016.
Roseola infantum. American Academy of Pediatricians Healthy Children website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/skin/Pages/Roseola-Infantum.aspx. Updated November 21, 2015. Accessed November 22, 2016.
Roseola infantum. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115041/Roseola-infantum. Updated August 20, 2015. Accessed November 22, 2016.

Roseola. Patient UK website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated August 7, 2015. Accessed November 22, 2016.
Last reviewed November 2016 by Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 6/20/2014

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at healthlibrarysupport@ebsco.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.

Health Library: Editorial Policy | Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions | Support
36000 Darnall Loop Fort Hood, Texas 76544-4752 | Phone: (254) 288-8000