Causes of roseola infantum

Roseola infantum is caused by a type of herpes virus. It spreads among children through coughing, sneezing and direct contact.

This type of herpes virus doesn’t cause cold sores, chickenpox or shingles.

Roseola infantum symptoms

Roseola infantum usually happens in children aged between six months and three years.

Roseola comes on suddenly.

Your child might get a mild sore throat, runny nose or cough. He might also develop swollen glands in his neck.
Your child might suddenly develop a high fever, which lasts for 3-4 days before disappearing suddenly.

During the period of high temperature, your child might have a febrile convulsion.  This is common in children aged between six months and three years. It isn’t usually serious.

Your child will also get a rash of pink, slightly raised spots on her chest, tummy and back. This rash might spread to the arms and neck. It rarely lasts more than 24 hours.

It’s possible for a child to have roseola and not have any symptoms.

Almost all children get roseola at some stage. This means that almost all adults are immune to the virus that causes roseola.

When to see your doctor about roseola infantum symptoms

Go to the doctor if your child:

  • has an unexplained high fever
  • develops a rash
  • is generally unwell for no apparent reason, or in addition to the above symptoms.

Treatment for roseola infantum

There’s no specific treatment for roseola.

If your child is uncomfortable or irritable during the fever, you can make him more comfortable by using paracetamol in recommended doses. This is unlikely to prevent febrile convulsions, however.

Make sure your child stays hydrated, and drinks small sips of fluid often.

Antibiotics aren’t useful because roseola is caused by a virus rather than bacteria.