Should Your Child See a Doctor?

Roseola

Is this your child's symptom?

  • Roseola is a widespread fine pink rash that's caused by a specific virus
  • Classic feature is that the rash is preceded by 2 or 3 days of high fever
  • The fever goes away before the rash starts
  • A doctor has told you that your child probably has Roseola or
  • Rash occurs after several days of fever, but fever gone now

Symptoms of Roseola

  • Most children get Roseola between 6 months and 3 years of age.
  • Rash: Pink, small, flat spots on the chest and stomach. Rash is the same on both sides of the body. Then spreads to the face.
  • Classic feature: 2 or 3 days of high fever without a rash or other symptoms.
  • The rash starts 12 to 24 hours after the fever goes away.
  • The rash lasts 1 to 3 days.
  • By the time the rash appears, the child feels fine.

Cause of Roseola

  • Human herpes virus 6 HHV6

Viral Rashes and Drug Rashes

  • Prescription drugs sometimes cause widespread rashes.
  • Non-prescription OTC drugs rarely cause any rashes.
  • Most rashes that occur while taking an OTC drug are viral rashes.
  • Fever medicines acetaminophen and ibuprofen cause the most confusion. Reason: Most viral rashes start with a fever. Hence, the child is taking a fever med when the rash starts. But, the fever med had nothing to do with the rash.
  • Drug rashes can't be diagnosed over the phone.

Prevention

  • Good hand washing can prevent spread of infection.

When to Call for Roseola

Call 911 Now

  • You think your child has a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Rash becomes purple or blood-colored
  • Large blisters on skin
  • Your child looks or acts very sick
  • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Fever comes back
  • Rash becomes worse
  • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • Rash lasts more than 4 days
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Roseola rash

Estimated Urgent Care Wait Times

These are estimated wait times for each Urgent Care clinic. Wait times may vary depending on the severity of the illnesses we are treating. If your child’s illness or injury is life-threating, call 911.

Care Advice for Roseola

  1. What You Should Know About Roseola:
    • Most children get Roseola between 6 months and 3 years of age.
    • It's the most common rash in this age group.
    • By the time they get the rash, the fever is gone. The child feels fine.
    • The rash is harmless and goes away on its own.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Treatment:
    • No treatment is needed.
    • Creams or medicines are not helpful.
  3. Moisturizing Cream for Itch:
    • Roseola usually is not itchy. If your child's rash is itchy, here are some tips.
    • Use a moisturizing cream such as Eucerin once or twice daily.
    • Apply the cream after a 5 or 10-minute bath. Reason: Water-soaked skin feels less itchy.
    • Avoid all soaps. Reason: Soaps, especially bubble bath, make the skin dry and itchy.
  4. Fever Medicine:
    • For fevers above 102° F (39° C), give an acetaminophen product such as Tylenol.
    • Another choice is an ibuprofen product such as Advil.
    • Note: Fevers less than 102° F (39° C) are important for fighting infections.
    • For all fevers: Keep your child well hydrated. Give lots of cold fluids.
    • Note: By the time the rash occurs, the fever should be gone. If your child has both, see Rash or Redness - Widespread care guide.
  5. What to Expect:
    • Roseola rash goes away in 2-3 days.
    • Some children with Roseola just have 3 days of fever without a rash.
  6. Return to Child Care:
    • Once the rash is gone, the disease is no longer contagious.
    • Your child can return to child care or school.
    • Children exposed to your child earlier may come down with Roseola in 9-10 days.
  7. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Fever comes back
    • Rash lasts more than 4 days
    • You think your child needs to be seen
    • Your child becomes worse

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

Last Reviewed: 10/20/2014

Last Revised: 10/20/2014

Copyright 1994-2015 Barton D. Schmitt, MD. All rights reserved.