Your Care Instructions
Roseola is a mild illness caused by a virus. It is generally harmless and is most common in children 6 months to 2 years of age. It is rare after age 4.
Roseola often starts with a sudden high fever that lasts 2 to 3 days, although it can last up to 8 days. The fever ends suddenly, and then a rosy pink rash may appear over your child's whole body. It often starts on the chest and spreads to the face, neck, and arms. The rash is not itchy, and it may last 1 to 2 days. A child with roseola may be fussy and may not want to eat anything, but most children act almost normally.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
How can you care for your child at home?
- Give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for fever, pain, or fussiness. Do not use ibuprofen if your child is less than 6 months old unless the doctor gave you instructions to use it. Be safe with medicines. For children 6 months and older, read and follow all instructions on the label.
- Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20. It has been linked to Reye syndrome, a serious illness.
- Do not give your child two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
- If your child is under age 2 or weighs less than 24 pounds, follow your doctor's advice about the amount of medicine to give your child.
- Do not put medicine on your child's rash. It will go away on its own.
When should you call for help?
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
- Your child has a seizure.
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
- Your child's rash gets worse.
- Your child has signs of infection, such as:
- Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
- Red streaks leading from the rash.
- Pus draining from the rash.
- A fever.
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
- Your child's rash lasts longer than 4 weeks or is not clearing up as expected.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter P474 in the search box to learn more about "Roseola in Children: Care Instructions".
Current as of: October 31, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:John Pope MD - Pediatrics & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine