Preventing and treating infant roseola

Roseola is a common, relatively harmless virus that affects infants from six months to two years of...

Roseola is a common, relatively harmless virus that affects infants from six months to two years of age. Atlanta parents often go to the pediatrician when their child has exhibited a sore throat, followed by a high fever and full-body rash. The disorder differs from other common skin diseases because of the presence of a high fever. The full range of symptoms takes up to a week to run their course.

While this illness causes concern for parents because of their child's appearance and short-term discomfort, no lasting medical conditions have been linked to this infection.


Roseola is caused by a strain of herpes virus and is passed when someone who carries this strain of the virus transmits fluid by sneezing or coughing. To prevent transmitting this illness:

  • Always wash your hands when around infants (under two years of age)
  • Cover your face when you sneeze
  • Immediately discard used tissues
  • Avoid direct contact with infants under two years of age if you're sick


There is no vaccine for roseola. Often, the infection goes away within a week and children do not require medication. If you have visited your doctor, he or she may advise giving your child over-the-counter medication, such as Tylenol, Advil or Motrin, to reduce the fever. Because roseola is caused by the herpes virus, it is not a bacterial infection and cannot be treated with antibiotics.

DO NOT give your child aspirin while he or she exhibits a fever or flu-like symptoms. When used during a fever, aspirin (also known as acetylsalicylate) has been linked to an increased risk of developing Reye's Syndrome.

If your child has a fever, be sure to give him or her plenty of fluids to combat dehydration.

When to seek emergency care

In a small population of affected infants, the illness can cause quick seizures, which are brought on by sudden fever. If your child has a fever greater than 103 degrees or has a fever that lasts for more than a week, call your doctor or seek emergency treatment.

Some adults did not contract this viral infection as a child and are susceptible to the disease later in their life. If you have a weakened immune system, avoid infants who display a high fever or rash. In the event that you experience illness after coming into contact with a child with roseola, call an Atlanta doctor.

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