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

If not, try one of these:

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.

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

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 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.

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