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Roseola, also known as sixth disease or roseola infantum, is a common infection that children usually contract by age two. It’s caused by two strains of the herpes virus, and it usually doesn’t cause serious symptoms or complications. An urgent care pediatrician can confirm the diagnosis and help parents comfort their kids while the disease runs its course.

Signs and Symptoms

The symptoms of roseola develop within a week or so of contracting the infection. It’s entirely possible for your child to have symptoms that are so mild, they are practically unnoticeable. On the other hand, some kids do become uncomfortably ill. The hallmark symptom is the sudden onset of a high fever, typically higher than 103 degrees Fahrenheit. The fever can last three to five days, and it may be accompanied by the following:

  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Irritability
  • Mild diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite
  • Swollen eyelids

As the fever goes away, some children may develop a rash. It isn’t itchy or painful, although it can be alarming for parents to see. The rash typically looks like dozens of small, pink, flat or raised spots that might be encircled by a white ring. Patients will first display the rash on the torso, and then it can spread to the limbs, neck, and face.

Causes and Risk Factors

Roseola is a viral infection that may be caused by human herpes virus seven, but is usually caused by human herpes virus six. It spreads from person to person through saliva. Your child might contract it if he or she shares a cup with an infected person. Children between the ages of six and 15 months are at the highest risk of roseola.

Treatments and Supportive Care

The standard treatment for roseola is simply to wait for it to run its course. Consult a doctor before giving your child a fever-reducing medicine. If your child has a weakened immune system, an emergency pediatrician might prescribe an antiviral drug. Antibiotics are ineffective. Help your child cope by encouraging him or her to get lots of rest, and drink plenty of water and electrolyte rehydration solutions. Rarely, children might suffer complications, which require prompt medical attention. These can include:

  • Febrile seizures
  • Pneumonia
  • Encephalitis

When kids get sick, they need specialized pediatric care delivered within a warm, welcoming setting. Pediatrics After Hours brings together dedicated emergency pediatricians in the DFW area, with four locations to serve your family better. You can reach a friendly staff member at 972-355-2273 , but if your child needs urgent care, there’s no need to make an appointment.


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