Demystifying Roseola: What to Look for and How to Treat It

What Is Roseola?

Roseola is a common viral illness of childhood. While adults can be affected, it’s more often seen in children between 6 months and 2 years of age.

Roseola is usually a mild illness, with symptoms improving on their own in just a few days.

Symptoms and Signs of Roseola

The typical symptoms of roseola are:

  • High fever
  • Irritability
  • Rash

Roseola generally starts with sudden, high fever that comes and goes for 3-5 days. In some cases, children also experience runny nose or cough. Once the fever has subsided, a pink, lacy rash will appear on the face, chest, abdomen, and back. The rash is a sign that the illness is running its course.

What Is the Treatment for Roseola?

Because roseola is a virus, it cannot be treated with antibiotics. Symptoms can be managed with acetaminophen and/or ibuprofen to manage the fever.  Also encourage children to drink plenty of fluids.

The rash from roseola does not cause itchiness, and so the rash does not need to be treated with creams or ointments. Roseola is contagious, so children should be fever free for 24 hours before being around other children or returning to childcare.

It is uncommon to have roseola a second time.

For additional questions about roseola, please contact your pediatrician at Green Hills Pediatric Associates in Nashville.