roseola symptoms

What Is Roseola?

Roseola is a viral infection most common in infants and young toddlers, ages 6-24 months. It’s characterized by a sudden fever followed by a distinctive skin rash. Those two symptoms together often raise concern of families, but roseola is very common and usually mild. In fact, most children will have been infected with it by the time they reach the age of five. Roseola is contagious through nasal secretions and saliva. 

Symptoms of roseola 


The first symptom of roseola shows up on average of 9-10 days after your child is exposed to the virus. It starts with a sudden high fever (usually around 103 or higher) that lasts 3-7 days. After the fever, a rash often (but not always) appears. This rash is characterized by many small, red spots or slightly raised bumps on the skin. They may be surrounded by a white ring. This rash often begins on the trunk (chest, back, and belly) and may spread to other areas. This rash should not bother your baby or child since it’s not itchy or painful. 


Other symptoms may include diarrhea, irritability, and/or a sore throat, runny nose, and cough during or just before the fever phase of the illness.


Treatment of roseola


Because roseola is usually not serious, treatment consists of making your child comfortable. Fever-reducing medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be given (do not give ibuprofen to babies under 6 months). Ensure you are using the correct type and dosage for your baby or child’s age. 


Other things you can do to help are encourage plenty of relaxation and ensure your baby or child stays well-hydrated, especially during the fever phase.


When to bring your child in to their doctor or urgent care

If your child’s fever rises above 103 degrees, call your pediatrician to see what he or she advises. Seek medical attention with your pediatrician or local pediatric urgent care if your child’s fever lasts more than 7 days or the rash shows no improvement after 3 days. If you live in the Los Angeles area, you can also have your child seen at MVP Pediatric and Urgent Care for any roseola concerns.