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  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:



(Exanthem Subitum; Roseola Infantum)


Roseola is a viral infection. It starts with a sudden, high fever. A rash follows.


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Certain herpes viruses cause roseola. Children get it from the saliva of people who carry the infection. It can be spread by:

  • Kissing or other close contact
  • Droplets from coughs or sneezes

Risk Factors

Roseola is more common in children under 3 years of age. The risk is higher among children in close contact with one another.


Common symptoms are:

  • A sudden, high fever:
    • 103°F to 105°F (39.4°C to 40.5°C)—may cause seizures in some children
    • Lasts 3 to 5 days
  • A rose-colored rash:
    • Starts within 3 days after the fever
    • On the chest and belly first, then may spread
    • Lasts for a few hours to a few days
    • Does not itch
  • Other symptoms:
    • Swollen glands in the neck
    • Fussiness
    • Lack of hunger


The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. This is enough to make the diagnosis.


Roseola goes away on its own in a few days. The goal of treatment is to ease symptoms. The doctor may advise medicines to lower the child’s fever.


The risk of roseola may be lowered by having children:

  • Wash their hands often
  • Stay away from other children who have it




  • Ko H, Shin S, et al. Predicting factors of roseola infantum infected with human herpesvirus 6 from urinary tract infection. Child Kidney Dis 2016; 20(2): 69-73.
  • Roseola infantum. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/skin/Pages/Roseola-Infantum.aspx.
  • Roseola. Nemour Kids Health website. Available at: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/roseola.html.
  • Roseola. Patient website. Available at: https://patient.info/health/viral-rashes/roseola.
  • Roseola infantum. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/roseola-infantum.


  • David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.