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Facts About...


What is it?

Roseola is a disease caused by a virus. It is most common in children 6 months to 2 years of age.

How is it spread?

Roseola is likely spread from person to person from saliva, and sneezing/coughing. The virus can be found in saliva in people who have no symptoms. Symptoms usually appear about 9-10 days after infection.

What do I look for?

Roseola begins with sudden fever, sometimes as high as 41ºC (106ºF) and lasts 3-7 days. A rash of small red spots may appear once fever resolves on the face, trunk and extremities, lasting a few hours to 2 days. Febrile seizures can occur during the febrile period.  The child may be cranky and irritable.

How is it treated?

There is no treatment except comfort care (rest, fluids, and acetaminophen for fever). Antibiotics will not treat roseola because it is caused by a virus and not bacteria.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, including after handling nose and throat discharges (i.e., after disposal of facial tissues containing nose discharges or use hand sanitizer if hands are not visibly dirty.
  • Wash articles soiled with nose and throat discharges, including toys, in soapy water.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow and encourage others to do the same.
  • Do not share water bottles, straws, eating utensils or anything else that has been in contact with saliva, nose or throat secretions.
  • If you are ill, stay at home and isolate yourself from others.

January 22, 2014