Roseola is caused by the human herpes virus 6 (HHV-6) and it affects mostly young children (between 6 and 24 months).Once one is infected, the virus remains in our saliva for life and reactivates from time to time. Children can catch it from their parents or older siblings who have the virus in their saliva yet remain asymptomatic. Small children tend to put things in their mouths, so it’s easy to catch the virus in the daycare setting from objects that an infected child has touched.
- The child has a sudden high fever (39°C) that lasts between three and seven days usually four.
- The child is irritable and has no appetite.
- The child’s eyelids are irritated.
- A pink rash appears on the child’s torso and spreads to the extremities and face.
- Ganglios may appear at occipital level (low part of the head, above the nape)
- The child may have diarrhea
- In rare cases, the high fever may cause convulsions or hallucinations--but cases such as this are very rare.
Diagnosis and treatment
A GP or pediatrician can easily diagnose roseola with a physical exam and prescribe a specific treatment for your child based on their age and medical history. This treatment will help reduce discomfort. However, since this is a viral infection, there is no cure for roseola. Your doctor might recommend giving your child acetaminophen and plenty of fluids to reduce the fever. Once your child’s fever has gone down, the rash will disappear in two to three days. There's no reason to worry.