What is Roseola

What is Roseola?

The are several viruses referred to as childhood illnesses. Roseola is one of these. It is a rather low-key viral infection which usually occurs between the ages of 6 months and 2 years. The child occasionally appears to be irritable or slightly fussy, but most of the time there are little to no symptoms and the child appears to act normally. They can have a decrease in appetite. If detected at all it will present with a sudden on-set high fever of up to 103° followed by a patchy rash first appearing on the torso and the back.

The average gestation of the fever is between 2-5 days. Occasionally your child may also experience a slight runny nose, sore throat, and a cough which would be present during the fever portion of the virus. There have been a few rare incidents where diarrhea and vomiting have been recorded.

The rash, which occurs after the fever portion of the illness, is pink and patchy, consisting of several little spots. Typically when the rash does appear, which it does not always, it will be flat. There have been some cases where it was noted to be slightly raised. Sometimes a white ring forms around a few of the spots. The rash, which can last for several hours or up to a few days, typically is not considered to be irritating or itchy. It starts on the trunk which includes the back, chest, and stomach, and then proceeds to appear on the arms and neck. In rare cases it has been noted on the face or the legs.

Why Do Children Get Roseola?

There are two common viruses known to cause Roseola, and both of the viruses are classified under the herpes viral family. These viruses, although related to herpes simplex, do not cause cold sores or the genital infections like the other strains are known to do. They are spread in the same manner, through small particles of fluid which are expelled through the mouth or nose of an infected person while sneezing, coughing, laughing, or talking. Many people who are carrying this strain of virus are unaware they are sick, and show little to no symptoms.

How Is Roseola Treated?

Roseola must be diagnosed through a physician’s examination. Typically the doctor will recommend ibuprofen (Children’s Motrin or Advil) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) for the fever. Always follow the dosage according to the doctor, which will be assigned according to weight.

NEVER give Aspirin to someone with Roseola. They can be at an increased risk for Reye’s Syndrome.


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