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How Do You Know It’s Roseola?

WHAT IS ROSEOLA? According to the BC Health guide, roseola (roseola infantum) is a mild illness caused by a virus. It is generally harmless and is most common in children six months to two years of age. It is rare after the age of four. Roseola is caused by two common viruses that belong to the herpes family. (They don’t, however, cause cold sores or genital sores as herpes simplex does.) Roseola is contagious before the rash appears and is passed on through tiny secretions from the nose and throat. It’s very important, therefore, to wash any toys that are shared. Children can pass on roseola before they even know they have the disease. If you know your child has it, you must keep him or her away from others for 24 hours after the fever has subsided.

IS IT ROSEOLA? The symptoms of roseola can be mistaken for many other illnesses. The following symptoms can help determine if your child has it:

  • Sudden, high fever [39.5°C (103°F) to 40.5°C (105°F)] that can last from three days to over a week.
  • Fever that often appears or worsens at night.
  • Rosy rash that presents after the fever has ended. The rash is not itchy and may last one or two days.
  • Decrease in appetite and fussiness, but child may seem well otherwise.
  • Sore throat, stomach ache, vomiting and diarrhea, although not common, can occur.
  • See the doctor if your child…
    • has a fever for more than 72
      hours or is under six months old
      and has a fever.
    • has a rash that worsens.
    • has a rash that continues longer
      than one week.
    • has a fever that causes seizures.
    • is not able to tolerate symptoms

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