Roseola is a viral infection. It starts with a sudden, high fever followed by a rash.
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Certain herpes viruses cause roseola. These are different than those that cause cold sores. Your child gets it from the saliva of people who carry the infection. This can happen through kissing or other close contact.
Roseola is more common in children under 3 years old. Older siblings in the same home make the chances of infection higher.
Common symptoms include:
The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. The presence of a rash after a high fever is a sign of the illness. The doctor diagnose it with this information and a physical exam. Testing is not required.
Roseola goes away on its own without problems. The focus of care is to ease symptoms. Medicines help lower your child’s fever.
Note: Don’t use aspirin for children who have or had a viral infection. Check with the doctor before giving your child aspirin.
To lower your child’s chances of roseola:
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
Roseola. Nemour Kids Health website. Available at:
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Updated January 2015. Accessed May 21, 2018.
Roseola. Patient website. Available at: https://patient.info/health/viral-rashes/roseola. Updated March 9, 2018. Accessed May 21, 2018.
Roseola infantum. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/skin/Pages/Roseola-Infantum.aspx. Updated November 21, 2015. Accessed May 21, 2018.
Roseola infantum. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115041/Roseola-infantum . Updated August 20, 2015. Accessed May 21, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 5/21/2018