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Roseola infantum

AGE  Most common between the ages of 6 months and 2 yearsGENDER  Not significant factors
LIFESTYLE  Not significant factorsGENETICS  Not significant factors

Roseola infantum is a viral infection that causes a high fever followed by a rash of tiny pink spots.

Roseola infantum
© Jupiter

Roseola infantum is a common illness in early childhood that affects about 3 in 10 children in the UK. The infection most commonly occurs in spring and autumn and is caused by strains of the herpes virus that are spread by close contact with other children. One attack of the infection gives lifelong immunity.

What are the symptoms of roseola infantum?

The symptoms of roseola infantum develop in two stages. The first and main symptom is a high fever, which appears 5-15 days after infection and develops rapidly over a few hours. Some children also have:

  • Mild diarrhoea.
  • Dry cough.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck.

In some children, the high fever causes febrile convulsions. After about 4 days, the fever subsides and a rash of tiny pink spots develops on the face and trunk. This rash usually disappears within a few days.

What might be done?

Roseola infantum does not require specific treatment, and your child will feel better as soon as his or her temperature drops and the spots appear. However, you should contact the doctor at once if the self-help measures for bringing down a fever are not effective, if a baby under 6 months old is feverish, if your child has a febrile convulsion, or if he or she seems ill even after the fever has been lowered.

Posted 09.09.2010

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