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What is roseola?

Roseola is a rash caused by the human herpesvirus-6. The rash lasts 1 or 2 days, then it disappears. It happens to children between 6 months and 3 years old. Your child has roseola if:

  • Your child has a fine pink rash, mostly on middle part of the body.
  • Your child had a high fever 2 to 4 days before the rash appeared. When the rash appeared, your child's fever went away.
  • Your child was only a little sick during the time with fever and acts fine now.

How long does it last?

The rash lasts 1 or 2 days, followed by complete recovery. Some children have 3 days of fever without a rash.

How can I take care of my child?

No particular treatment is necessary. Roseola can be spread to another child until the rash is gone. Other children of this age who have been with your child may come down with roseola in about 12 days.

When should I call my child's health care provider?


  • The spots become purple or blood colored.
  • Your child starts to act very sick.

Call during office hours if:

  • The rash lasts more than 3 days.
  • The fever lasts more than 4 days.
  • You have other questions or concerns.
Written by B.D. Schmitt, M.D., author of "Your Child's Health," Bantam Books.
Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Last modified: 2002-03-18
Last reviewed: 2006-03-02
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright 2006 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.
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