Roseola is the result of a herpes virus. It is human herpes virus 6, or HHV-6. It different than other forms of herpes such as cold sores and genital herpes.
Sickness is an inevitable part of having a baby. All
babies and children get sick at times. There are some common illnesses that almost all babies and children get at some point
during their childhood. Many of these illnesses are generally harmless but are
uncomfortable and inconvenient. One of these very common illnesses is a virus
called roseola infantum, or more often known simply as roseola. Many babies get
roseola and almost all children get it
sometime before the age of 3.
What Causes Roseola?
Roseola is the result of a herpes virus. It is human
herpes virus 6, or HHV-6. It different than other forms of herpes such as cold
sores and genital herpes. It cannot cause those things like other forms of
herpes virus. The exact way that roseola is spread is unknown for sure, but it
is strongly suspected that it’s spread
by saliva. With the ways that babies and young children behave in regard to
putting anything and everything they find in their mouths, it’s not surprising
that this is such a common illness in babies. Once your baby or child gets
roseola, they will become immune to it. This means that each child will only experience roseola once. It can be difficult
to determine the source of the roseola because once your baby comes in contact
with the roseola virus, they won’t begin showing symptoms for anywhere from 5
to 15 days.
Can Roseola Be Prevented?
There is no
vaccine available for roseola and no way to specifically prevent it. Almost
all children will experience it at some point since it is so common. However,
you can make an effort to prevent roseola as well as other illnesses in your
baby by practicing good hygiene.
Don’t allow your baby to chew on things that have been in other children’s
mouths without washing them first. You also should avoid letting anyone share
food or drink with your little one. Have friends and family members wash their
hands before handling your baby and avoid having your baby around anyone that is
What Are the Symptoms of
The initial symptoms of roseola are very similar to many other common childhood
illnesses, but there are a few later symptoms of roseola that are more
obvious and confirm that your baby does indeed have roseola.
1. High Fever
One of the main signs of roseola is a very high fever in your baby. The fever may be as high
as 40 degrees Celsius or maybe even higher than that in some cases. The
fever that comes along with roseola typically comes on very quickly. The fever
will last anywhere from as little as only a few hours up to several days. Each
case varies in the length of the fever that the baby has. The fever with
roseola usually disappears just as suddenly as it appeared.
2. Fine Rash
The symptom that most obviously gives away that your
baby has a case of roseola is a fine rash that will typically appear shortly
after your baby’s fever subsides. The rash is either pink or red in colour and
is usually made up of many small raised
bumps. The rash shows up on the affected baby’s torso, but often times, the
rash from roseola will spread to the baby’s arms, the baby’s legs, and even the
3. Cold-Like Symptoms
In addition to the major symptoms of roseola of a high
fever and fine rash, your baby will also likely experience some cold-like
symptoms. These symptoms will usually occur before the baby’s fever comes on.
Roseola can cause your baby to have a sore throat, runny nose, and a cough. Additionally, the drainage associated with
the runny nose can actually lead to ear infections as well.
How is Roseola Diagnosed?
Since the first symptoms of roseola are so similar to
so many other illnesses, it can make it hard
to diagnose roseola at first. Generally, if there is no obvious cause of
the high fever such as ear infection or strep throat, your child’s doctor may
suspect that it could be roseola causing the fever in your child. If your
child’s doctor does suspect roseola, they may instruct you to wait and see if
the rash that comes after a fever with roseola appears. Other than waiting to
see if the tell-tale rash appears, your child’s doctor may conduct a blood test
to see if there are antibodies to roseola present in your child’s blood in
order to diagnose roseola in your child.
What is the Treatment for
There is no
actual treatment for roseola. Rather than treating it, you just need to let it run its course. Even though you
aren’t able to treat roseola, you can still help your child to be as
comfortable as possible for the duration of the illness. One part of that is
going to be treating your child’s fever. The fever plays a role in fighting the
virus, but a very high fever can also cause febrile convulsions. Febrile
convulsions are generally not dangerous but they are very scary for both you
and your bub. Additionally, the fever will be uncomfortable for your baby. By
treating and controlling your baby’s fever, you will help them to be more
comfortable and will be able to prevent the febrile convulsions that often
accompany very high fevers.
Caring for Your Baby While
They Are Sick with Roseola
Since there is no actual treatment of roseola and you
just have to wait it out, you definitely want to take steps to make it as easy
on your bub as possible. As mentioned before, you’ll want to control your baby’s fever. You can do
this by giving your baby paracetamol, or if your baby is old enough, you can
give them ibuprofen. Ibuprofen should not be given to a baby under the age of 3
months old. When giving medicine to babies, you should always confirm that you
are giving the proper dose for your baby’s age and size with your baby’s
doctor. In addition to treating their fever, you should ensure that your baby gets as much rest as possible.
that your baby stays hydrated by getting plenty
of fluids. If your baby is breastfed, you should nurse them often. If they
are formula fed, make sure they are taking an adequate amount of formula. If
your baby is older than 6 months, you can also give them water to help keep
them hydrated. You should keep your baby
home from childcare if they have roseola. This is because it will help
prevent the spread of the illness to other children and because your baby will
need more attention while they are sick.
Comfort Your Baby
Unfortunately, roseola is just one of those uncomfortable
things that most babies encounter. Luckily, it generally has no serious
complications and causes no lasting harm to your bub. Try to relax, don’t
worry, and just take this rough time in your bub’s life to spend extra time
with them caring for them and comforting them. There isn’t much else you can do
but keep them as comfortable and safe-feeling as possible while you both wait
for the roseola to pass. So, treat your baby’s fever, keep them hydrated and
rested, and give them lots of extra
cuddles. It will be over before you know it, and your baby will feel better
knowing you’re there for them.
Welcome to Babyinfo – the ultimate pregnancy and newborn information guide. We are here to help you find all the pregnancy and baby info you need to make the most beautiful experience of your life even better.
Our team is comprised of an amazing mix of experienced mothers, recently pregnant women, and editors with tremendous medical knowledge in the fields of gynaecology and childbirth.
Think of us as your friendly advisors, here to give you honest, easy to understand and authentic information. We are here to be your support at this crucial time in your life, when you need it the most.
Note: This website is in no way meant to replace doctors, hospitals, or other healthcare providers that may be utilized by current mothers or mothers-to-be. All mothers are advised to see a doctor for medical advice and the appropriate care before, during, and after pregnancy.