What is roseola?
Roseola is common in infants and young children aged 6 to 24 months. It is rare in children under four months or over four years of age. The infection is usually mild and many children recover without ever feeling sick.
What are the symptoms of roseola?
Roseola starts with a sudden high fever (often 39.5oC or 103oF). Children may also have swollen glands in their neck, a runny nose and mild diarrhea. Symptoms can last three to five days. In rare cases the high fever can cause seizures.
Once the fever ends and the child seems to be recovering a rash will appear and spread over their body. If the red spots are touched they turn white and have a light ring around them. The rash lasts one to two days and is not itchy or painful.
You should see a health care provider if the illness seems to be causing more serious symptoms.
How is roseola spread?
Roseola spreads through saliva and through droplets of fluid from the nose and throat of infected people when they cough or sneeze. These droplets land on the eyes, nose or mouth of others nearby and can cause infection. The droplets can also land on surfaces and be picked up on the hands of others who can transfer the virus to their eyes, nose or mouth. It is unknown how long children with roseola might be contagious to others.
It usually takes 10 days to start showing symptoms after being in contact with someone with roseola.
How is roseola treated?
There is no specific treatment for roseola. Most children with the infection are not seriously ill and complications are rare.
You can treat mild symptoms at home.
How is roseola prevented?
There is no vaccine available to protect against roseola. Children with roseola may go to school or daycare if they feel well enough to participate in regular activities.
Simple preventative measures can reduce the spread of infection.