What is a Roseola Rash?
Roseola rash is a mild infection affecting children ages two years and below although can also affect young adults with limited manifestations. Roseola is also known as the Sixth Disease and Exanthema subitum and is very common to children that they get affected before they enter school. Roseola is also termed as three-day fever and this disease are generally mild and resulted from viral infection.
The onset of Roseola is marked by a high fever and the onset of rash that appears after the fever has subsided. The disease can be passed on from person to person although the disease is not highly contagious but is contagious during the course of the disease or when the child is still unwell. The virus in Roseola can be transmitted through oral secretions and the incubation period of the virus usually takes about 9 to 10 days from exposure to onset of symptoms. Human is the natural host for the two types of virus that can cause Roseola and the disease can occur at any time without variation in the season.
The striking characteristic of Roseola is that the child still looks well despite having the fever and the disease. The onset of the disease may not have any indication of illness for most patients but there are some who will generally feel ill and experience the symptoms in full. The fever usually last for three days followed by the development of rash that normally last for a day or two.
How Does a Roseola Rash Look Like?
The rash in Roseola appears after the fever has dissipated. The rash may be a little raised spots or may also be a flat rash. The color of the rash is pinkish red and with light halo. It turns white when touched or pressed.
Roseola rash initially develops in the chest, abdomen and back then spreads to the neck and arms and seldom spread to the legs and face. The rash is generally not itchy and uncomfortable and fades within several hours to several days from the onset of rash.
Symptoms of Roseola Rash
The symptoms of Roseola differ from one child to another depending on the age and overall health status of the child. Typically, the disease starts with an onset of mild upper respiratory sickness and is followed by the onset of a very high fever.
The general symptoms of Roseola rash include the following:
Fever of high grade and in sudden onset. The fever is usually about 103F or 39.4C in grade but can go as high as 106F or 41.2C. Some child patient afflicted with Roseola may suffer from febrile seizure especially in children between the ages of 18 months to 2 years of age. The onset of febrile seizure should not be frightening as this usually does not cause long-term problem nor in any way related to long-term side effects in the nervous system or damage to the brain. The fever usually lasts for 3 to 4 days with a sudden drop in grade until normal temperature is restored.
A rash appears after the fever has subsided and when the child is starting to feel better. Tiny spots in pinkish to reddish color will appear. The spot is usually flat but may also appear in small bumps and is bordered by a light halo. This spot turns into white color when pressed or touched. It initially appears to the chest, back and abdomen then spreads to the neck and arms and may also spread to the legs and face although this seldom happens. The rash dissipates within several hours to a few days of its initial development. The rash however is not itchy and may not cause any discomfort to the child.
Other signs and symptoms of Roseola may also include the following:
- Increased irritability of child and infant
- Fatigue or generally low energy
- Runny nose associated with the fever
- Puffy or swollen eyelids
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Some children may also suffer from mild diarrhea
- An episode of febrile seizure may occur in some children especially to those with very high grade fever
It is advisable to seek medical attention in case the child experience convulsion or febrile seizure as the fever suddenly skyrocketed to 106F or 41.2C. Febrile seizure however may go unnoticed by the time an increase in fever grade is noticed. Immediately call a doctor if for no apparent reason the child experiences a seizure.
It is also recommended to seek medical consultation or call a doctor is the fever has reached a grade of higher than 103F or 39.4C. Roseola and fever lasting for more than a week and rash that has not dissipated for more than 3 days should prompt parents or caregivers to seek medical consultation. A child with compromised immune system must seek medical attention as well after being exposed to the disease or may have come in contact with an infected patient.
Causes of Roseola Rash
Roseola rash is caused by two strains of human viruses called Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and Human herpesvirus 7 (HHV-7). These two herpes viruses are sometimes collectively called Roseolovirus. This strain of virus however is not known to cause other herpes conditions such as cold sores.
The disease of Roseola can be spread from one child to another and is especially contagious during the process of the disease and sometimes even after the disease has abated. The transmission is through saliva and respiratory secretions from an infected individual.
There is no treatment to cure the disease of Roseola rash as the disease usually resolves on its own even without any treatment. The child usually recovers within a week from the onset of fever and gets even better after the rash has fully subsided.
The treatment is directed towards the symptoms manifested and experienced by the child. Over-the-counter medications to reduce the fever such as acetaminophen are usually given. It is important to keep the child comfortable at all times during the process of the disease and to increase the fluid intake. A tepid sponge bath may be given to help reduce the fever but never sponge a child with an alcohol as this can only cause additional problem if the fumes from the alcohol has been inhaled.