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Alternative Names: Exanthem subitum; Sixth disease
Roseola is a generally mild infection that usually affects children by age 2. It occasionally affects adults. Roseola is extremely common — so common that most children have been infected with roseola by the time they enter kindergarten.
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Two common strains of herpes viruses cause roseola. The condition typically causes several days of fever, followed by a rash.
Some children develop only a very mild case of roseola and never show any clear indication of illness, while others experience the full range of symptoms.
Roseola typically isn’t serious. Rarely, complications from a very high fever can result. Treatment of roseola includes bed rest, fluids and medications to reduce fever.
It is frequently called roseola, although this term could be applied to any rose-colored rash.
The child may have a runny nose, sore throat, and eye redness.
A fever usually occurs before the rash appears. It lasts for 3 (sometimes up to 7) days. The fever may be as high as 105° Fahrenheit, and it generally responds well to acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Between the second and fourth day of the illness, the fever drops and a rash appears (often as the fever falls).
•The rash starts on the trunk and spreads to the limbs, neck, and face. The rash is pink or rose-colored, and has fairly small sores that are slightly raised.
•The rash lasts from a few hours to 2 – 3 days. It usually does not itch.
Other symptoms include:
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•High fever that comes on quickly
Until recently, its origin was unknown, but it is now known to be caused by two human herpesviruses, HHV-6 (Human herpesvirus 6) and HHV-7, which are sometimes referred to collectively as Roseolovirus. There are two variants of HHV-6 and studies in the US, Europe and Japan have shown that exanthema subitum is caused by HHV-6B which infects over 90% of infants by age 2. Current research indicates that babies congenitally infected with the HHV-6A virus can have inherited the virus on a chromosome
The virus is spread through the faecal-oral route (poor hygiene after using the toilet) or by airborne droplets. Careful handwashing can help prevent its spread.
Occasionally other viruses cause an illness very similar to roseola.
Like other viral illnesses, such as a common cold, roseola spreads from person to person through contact with an infected person’s respiratory secretions or saliva. For example, a healthy child who shares a cup with a child who has roseola could contract the virus.
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Roseola is contagious even if no rash is present. That means the condition can spread while an infected child has only a fever, even before it’s clear that the child has roseola. Watch for signs of roseola if your child has interacted with another child who has the illness.
Unlike chickenpox and other childhood viral illnesses that spread rapidly, roseola rarely results in a communitywide outbreak. The infection can occur at any time of the year.
Roseola occurs throughout the year. The time between becoming infected and the beginning of symptoms (incubation period) is 5 to 15 days.
Older infants are at greatest risk of acquiring roseola because they haven’t had time yet to develop their own antibodies against many viruses. While in the uterus, babies receive antibodies from their mothers that protect them as newborns from contracting infections, such as roseola. But this immunity fades with time. The most common age for a child to contract roseola is between 6 and 15 months.
Seizures in children
Occasionally a child with roseola experiences a seizure brought on by a rapid rise in body temperature. If this happens, your child might briefly lose consciousness and jerk his or her arms, legs or head for several seconds to minutes. He or she may also lose bladder or bowel control temporarily.
If your child has a seizure, seek emergency care. Although frightening, fever-related seizures in otherwise healthy young children are generally short-lived and are rarely harmful.
Complications from roseola are rare. The vast majority of otherwise healthy children and adults with roseola recover quickly and completely.
Concerns for people with weak immune systems
Roseola is of greater concern in people whose immune system is compromised, such as those who have recently received a bone marrow or organ transplant. They may contract a new case of roseola — or a previous infection may come back while their immune system is weakened. Because they have less resistance to viruses in general, immune-compromised people tend to develop more severe cases of infection and have a harder time fighting off illness.
People with weak immune systems who contract roseola may experience potentially serious complications from the infection, such as pneumonia or encephalitis — a potentially life-threatening inflammation of the brain.
Roseola is usually diagnosed from the history and symptoms, especially if the infection has recently been reported in the community.
•Physical exam of rash
•Swollen lymph nodes on the neck (cervical nodes) or back of the scalp (occipital nodes)
Typically the disease affects a child between six months and two years of age, and begins with a sudden high fever (39–40 °C; 102.2-104 °F). This can cause, in rare cases, febrile convulsions (also known as febrile seizures or “fever fits”) due to the sudden rise in body temperature, but in many cases the child appears normal. After a few days the fever subsides, and just as the child appears to be recovering, a red rash appears. This usually begins on the trunk, spreading to the legs and neck. The rash is not itchy and may last 1 to 2 days. In contrast, a child suffering from measles would usually appear more infirm, with symptoms of conjunctivitis and a cough, and their rash would affect the face and last for several days. Liver dysfunction can occur in rare cases.
The rare adult reactivates with HHV-6 and can show signs of mononucleosis.
The disease usually gets better without complications.
Most children recover fully from roseola within a week of the onset of the fever. With your doctor’s advice, you can give your child over-the-counter medications to reduce fever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others). However, don’t give aspirin to a child who has a viral illness because aspirin has been associated with the development of Reye’s syndrome, which can be serious.
There’s no specific treatment for roseola, although some doctors may prescribe the antiviral medication ganciclovir (Cytovene) to treat the infection in people with weakened immunity. Antibiotics aren’t effective in treating viral illnesses, such as roseola.
Like most viruses, roseola just needs to run its course. Once the fever subsides, your child should feel better soon. However, a fever can make your child uncomfortable. To treat your child’s fever at home, your doctor may recommend:
*Plenty of rest. Let your child rest in bed until the fever disappears.
*Plenty of fluids. Encourage your child to drink clear fluids, such as water, ginger ale, lemon-lime soda, clear broth or an electrolyte solution (such as Pedialyte) or sports drinks (such as Gatorade and Powerade) to prevent dehydration. Remove the gas bubbles from carbonated fluids. You can do this by letting the carbonated beverage stand or by shaking, pouring or stirring the beverage. Removing the carbonation will mean having your child avoid the added discomfort of excess burping or intestinal gas that carbonated beverages may cause.
*Sponge baths. A lukewarm sponge bath or a cool washcloth applied to your child’s head can soothe the discomfort of a fever. However, avoid using ice, cold water, fans or cold baths. These may give the child unwanted chills.There’s no specific treatment for the rash of roseola, which fades on its own in a short time
Because there’s no vaccine to prevent roseola, the best you can do to prevent the spread of roseola is to avoid exposing your child to an infected child. If your child is sick with roseola, keep him or her home and away from other children until the fever has broken. Once the rash appears, the virus is much less contagious.
Most people have antibodies to roseola by the time they’re of school age, making them immune to a second infection. Even so, if one household member contracts the virus, make sure that all family members wash their hands frequently to prevent spread of the virus to anyone who isn’t immune.
Adults who never contracted roseola as children can become infected later in life, though the disease tends to be mild in healthy adults. The main concern is that infected adults can pass the virus on to children.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.
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