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Therapy for roseola is directed toward bothersome symptoms. Acetaminophen (Tylenol and other products) may be used to lower temperature. The rash requires no therapy. Once the fever is gone for 24 hours, the child may return to routine activities (for example, day care/preschool). Complications are rare with roseola except in children with suppressed immune systems. Individuals with healthy immune systems generally develop lifelong immunity to HHV-6 (or HHV-7).
Medical Evaluation for Roseola
If a child has a fever and a rash at the same time, the child should not go to day care/school and should be evaluated by their health-care provider. (Remember: The characteristic pattern for roseola is fever without rash; the fever resolves completely, and then within a short time, a characteristic rash develops.)
Prevention of roseola is difficult because during the incubation period (time between exposure to the virus and development of symptoms) the infected child is contagious but has no symptoms. General health awareness and avoidance of ill and febrile children will lessen the exposure risk to roseola and other infectious diseases. No vaccine exists to prevent roseola. Since this is a viral infection, antibiotics are of no value. Routine antiviral agents (for example, acyclovir) have minimal effect and are not recommended.
Are There Other Names for Roseola?
Over the years, roseola has had several different names including roseola infantum, roseola infantilis, and exanthem subitum. In the past, roseola was also called sixth disease, underscoring the fact that it was one of the six childhood viral skin infections, and the illness lasts for approximately six days. Other childhood diseases that were once known only by a numerical name include scarlet fever, measles, and German measles.
Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/8/2015
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