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.

Risk Factors

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:

  • A sudden, high fever:
    • 103°F-105°F (39.4°C-40.5°C)—may cause seizures in some children
    • Lasts 3-5 days
  • A rose-colored rash:
    • Starts within 3 days after the fever stops
    • Appears on the chest and abdomen first, then may spread
    • Lasts for a few hours to a few days and does not itch
  • Other symptoms:
    • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
    • Irritability
    • Poor appetite


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:

  • Wash your hands often .
  • Keep them away from other children who have it.

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians

Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics


About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children

Health Canada


Roseola. Nemour Kids Health website. Available at: Updated January 2015. Accessed May 21, 2018.

Roseola. Patient website. Available at: Updated March 9, 2018. Accessed May 21, 2018.

Roseola infantum. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: Updated November 21, 2015. Accessed May 21, 2018.

Roseola infantum. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated August 20, 2015. Accessed May 21, 2018.

Last reviewed May 2018 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP  Last Updated: 5/21/2018