Roseola: Causes, Treatment and Prevention
What is Roseola?
Roseola is an acute infection most commonly found in children between the age of 6 to 24
months. Generally, it is a mild infection and there are no symptoms at all, in some cases.
However, some children may develop symptoms like skin rash and high fever; however,
there is a complete recovery within a few days without any complications. This infection can
occur anytime during the year. It is very rare in adults. Let's understand in detail about the
symptoms, causes and treatment of roseola.
What are the signs and symptoms of Roseola?
It takes about 8-10 days for the onset of the symptoms after exposure to the virus. A
sudden onset of high temperature is the primary symptom of roseola. This infection is
contagious, when the child has a high fever. Fever may rise upto 103.5 degree F (39.7
degree C)-106 degree F(41.2 degree C). High fever may last for 4-5 days. It is
accompanied by other symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, cough, sore throat, mild
diarrhea, loss of appetite, puffy eyelids, swollen lymph nodes on the back of the scalp
(occipital nodes), irritability and fatigue. Once the fever disappears, skin rash appears in the
form of red or pink spots with a white ring around them. The rash turns white, when
pressed. It spreads over the face and arms. The rash disappears after 2-3 days.
What are the causes of Roseola?
Roseola is a viral infection caused by two common forms of herpes viruses, namely Human
herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and human herpesvirus 7 (HHV-7). Roseola spreads from individual
to individual and the main mode of transmission is through oral secretions. The virus
transmits through sneezing, coughing and saliva. Children with a weak immune system are
at a higher risk of infection.
What are the treatment options for Roseola?
Roseola is difficult to diagnose in its initial stage, because its early signs and symptoms
resemble other childhood infections like ear infections, strep throat or common cold.
Therefore, the doctor generally waits, till the typical rash of roseola appears. The diagnosis
is done on the basis of physical examination of the skin rash and swollen lymph nodes.
A child suffering from roseola usually recovers completely without any specific treatment.
However, over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be
administered to reduce fever, of course with the doctor's advice. Aspirin is not
recommended for younger children, as it can increase the risk of Reye's syndrome in
children. No medical treatment is required for the skin rash.
Due to fever and fatigue, the child tends to become restless. Therefore, plenty of rest is
essential for the child. Encourage the child to have adequate amounts of fluids like water,
electrolyte solution, lemon-lime soda or ginger ale in order to prevent dehydration.
Can Roseola be prevented?
In some rare cases, high fever due to roseola can lead to seizures. About 5-35% of children
between 18 months and 3 years of age may suffer from febrile seizures. However, it is not
dangerous and does not affect the nervous system. In any case, it's always better to
prevent any infection rather than treating it. Since there is no vaccine available, the only
way to prevent roseola is to avoid any exposure to the virus. Keep your child away from the
infected person. Maintaining proper hygiene is very important for the prevention of this