(Exanthem Subitum; Roseola Infantum)


Roseola is a viral infection. It starts with a sudden, high fever followed by a rash.


Nucleus factsheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


Certain herpes viruses cause roseola. These are different than those that cause cold sores. Your child gets it from the saliva of people who carry the infection. This can happen through kissing or other close contact.

Risk Factors

Roseola is more common in children under 3 years old. Older siblings in the same home make the chances of infection higher.


Common symptoms include:

  • A sudden, high fever:
    • 103°F-105°F (39.4°C-40.5°C)—may cause seizures in some children
    • Lasts 3-5 days
  • A rose-colored rash:
    • Starts within 3 days after the fever stops
    • Appears on the chest and abdomen first, then may spread
    • Lasts for a few hours to a few days and does not itch
  • Other symptoms:
    • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
    • Irritability
    • Poor appetite


The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. The presence of a rash after a high fever is a sign of the illness. The doctor diagnose it with this information and a physical exam. Testing is not required.


Roseola goes away on its own without problems. The focus of care is to ease symptoms. Medicines help lower your child’s fever.

Note : Don’t use aspirin for children who have or had a viral infection. Check with the doctor before giving your child aspirin.


To lower your child’s chances of roseola:

  • Wash your hands often .
  • Keep them away from other children who have it.


Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics


About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children


Roseola. Nemour Kids Health website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated January 2015. Accessed May 21, 2018.
Roseola. Patient website. Available at: Updated March 9, 2018. Accessed May 21, 2018.
Roseola infantum. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: Updated November 21, 2015. Accessed May 21, 2018.
Roseola infantum. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: . Updated August 20, 2015. Accessed May 21, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 5/21/2018

EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.

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.

To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.

Home |Terms and Conditions |Concerned About Privacy? |Accessibility |Careers |For Employers and Medical Plan Providers

You may also be looking for: CVS/pharmacy | MinuteClinic | Specialty Pharmacy | SilverScript | Accordant