Symptoms and Signs of Roseola

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Doctor's Notes on Roseola

Roseola is a mild viral illness of sudden onset and short duration that most frequently affects young children. It is most commonly seen in children age 6 to 24 months. Less frequently, older children, teens, and adults may be infected.

Symptoms of roseola depend on the age of the patient. Symptoms of roseola in infants and toddlers include a sudden high fever that lasts for three to five days, irritability, swollen glands in the front or back of the neck, runny nose, and mild diarrhea. Within 12-24 hours of the fever breaking, a rash rapidly appears that is located on the neck, abdomen, and trunk/back and may extend to the extremities. The rash appears as separate, raised 3 mm-5 mm lesions or as similarly sized flat spots. The skin is mildly red in color and temporarily whitens with pressure. The rash is not itchy, painful, or contagious, and it lasts for one to two days and does not return. Symptoms of roseola in older children include several days of high fever, and occasionally, runny nose and diarrhea. Rash is less common in older children.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.