Roseola is a common childhood viral infection. It is seen in children between the ages of 6 months and 24 months. Initially the child will just have high fever and after the fever breaks in three to seven days, the child gets red raised rash all over the body. The rash can last anywhere between few hours to few days and it begins on the torso and spreads to the arms, legs and face. This rash is not itchy.
Some children infected with roseola virus display the characteristic viral symptoms like cough, runny nose, swollen glands, diarrhea and irritability. However, most do not show any symptoms and that is what makes the diagnosis difficult. It is only when the rash appears that doctor can diagnose the condition.
There is no special treatment for roseola and most children get alright without any medication. However, to reduce the fever, you can give medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Roseola is caused by Human Herpes Virus-6 (HHV-6) and is also known as the Sixth disease or exanthema sibitum. Even Human Herpes Virus-7 (HHV-7) is believed to cause roseola. There is no seasonal pattern for roseola and a child can get it at any time of the year. Although most doctors think that roseola is not contagious, there are others who believe that roseola virus is spread through saliva and respiratory secretions when the child has fever.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), if a child has roseola rash, he can return to daycare as long as he is not running fever.