Roseola is a very common viral infection that occurs generally in young children and is characterized by high fever and rashes on the body.
Roseola is a viral disease caused by the human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and by human herpesvirus 7 (HHV-7). Children between the age of 6 months and 24months are more susceptible to have this disease, but some preteens and adults are also known to get infected. It is not a severe viral illness and typically a child suffering from roseola develops mild respiratory infection, followed by high fever which can last up to a week. When the fever subsides, the child develops a pinkish to red flat or raised rashes that spread over the entire body. The roseola rash usually starts at the abdominal area and then spreads to the back, face, neck and thighs. In some cases the red rash appears with a white ring around them. When the rash is pressed with a finger, it turns white.
Some of the symptoms of roseola rash are as follows.
- High fever that lasts for more than 48 hours
- Sore throat
- Loss of appetite
- Irritability in children
- Swollen eyelids
- Swollen lymph nodes
Is roseola rash contagious? Yes, it is. It spreads through body fluids from the nose and throat of infected people. The infection is contagious when the person is suffering from high fever. When the rash appears, the infection does not spread. The incubation period between exposure to the roseola virus and onset of symptoms is nine to ten days.
Usually no professional treatment is required for roseola and you simply need to let the fever run its course. As the itchy rash is due to virus and not bacteria, therefore antibiotics are not effective to cure it. But there are ways in which you can make the patient more comfortable. This includes giving cold compresses to the child with the help of a towel or sponge soaked in water. Give him plenty of water, and electrolyte solution to avoid dehydration. Keep the child comfortable and consult a doctor if the fever persists for more than three days and the rash also does not subside.
For slightly older children who develop this condition, over the counter medications like ibuprofen can help in reducing the fever and provide relief.
Roseola rash is very often confused with other diseases like measles and rubella. To rule this out, your health care practitioner might need to conduct a blood and urine culture. It is not known to occur during any specific season and children get infected all year round. Although it does not cause any complications and is believed to be harmless, people suffering from immune system disorders are at a greater risk.
Roseola rash fever develops very suddenly and in some cases can cause febrile seizures. Signs of a febrile seizure are twitching and jerking of the face, arms and legs, unconsciousness and loss of control of bladder. Although a seizure in a small child might look very frightening, it is generally harmless. It is rarely associated with any long term side effects or brain damage. Till date there is no vaccination available to treat roseola. To prevent your child from contacting this infection, keep him/her away from any infected people. It can also be prevented by regular washing of hands with a mild antibacterial hand wash.