Roseola is caused by two similar strains of human herpesvirus (HHV), HHV-6 (the usual cause) and HHV-7, that are spread through secretions from the nose and throat. These are not the same strains of herpesvirus that cause herpes in the mouth or genital areas.
Roseola Infection Information
Roseola begins with coldlike symptoms, which are followed by as many as seven days of high fever. The fever rises quickly, remains high, and then breaks abruptly. This fast-rising fever triggers convulsions called febrile seizures in 10 percent to 15 percent of children who contract roseola.
As the fever breaks, a pink rash appears on the torso and spreads to other parts of the body, including the neck, face, arms, and legs. Spots caused by roseola turn white when touched and may have a lighter-colored ring around them. Roseola typically does not require professional treatment -- the virus must simply run its course. However, you should speak with your child's pediatrician about over-the-counter medications to manage the fever and/or if you are unsure that roseola is the cause.
Who's at Risk for Roseola?
Young children, primarily those between the ages of 6 months and 2 years, are most at risk. Adults are rarely affected; it is believed that a childhood case of roseola provides lifelong immunity, although repeat cases have been known to occur.
Defensive Measures Against Roseola
Roseola is difficult to prevent because infected people who are not yet exhibiting symptoms often spread the virus; by the time a roseola rash is present, the contagious stage has passed. There is no vaccine to prevent the spread of roseola; however, the basic principles of preventing any viral infection apply, including washing hands thoroughly and often and avoiding exposure to those who are infected.
Children get sick -- it's almost impossible to avoid. However, most infections, for children and adults alike, can be avoided by observing good hygiene practices. Use the tips in this article to help keep your family healthy all year round.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Laurie L. Dove is an award-winning Kansas-based journalist and author whose work has been published internationally. A dedicated consumer advocate, Dove specializes in writing about health, parenting, fitness, and travel. An active member of the National Federation of Press Women, Dove also is the former owner of a parenting magazine and a weekly newspaper.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.