Roseola is an infection caused by a virus. It is characterized by a sudden onset of high fever followed by a rash. The infection usually ends on its own without complications.
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Roseola is usually caused by a virus called human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6). It can also be caused by human herpesvirus 7 (HHV-7). These viruses are not the same as the herpes viruses that cause cold sores or genital herpes.
Factors that increase the chance of roseola include:
Symptoms of roseola include:
The appearance of a rash after the fever disappears is the characteristic sign of roseola.
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.
No treatment is needed for roseola unless the child has a weakened immune system. The most important treatment is to keep the fever down and drink plenty of fluids.
Talk to your doctor about how to bring the fever down through:
Call your doctor if your child has a seizure and/or the fever persists.
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.
American Academy of Family Physicians
American Academy of Pediatrics
About Kids Health
Roseola infantum. American Academy of Pediatricians' Healthy Children website. Available at: http://www.healthy.... Updated May 11, 2013. Accessed August 5, 2013.
Roseola. Nemours' KidsHealth website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/skin/roseola.html. Updated July 2012. Accessed August 5, 2013.
Last reviewed August 2013 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 5/11/2013