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Children younger than four months or older than four years don’t usually get roseola. Most children are not very sick with roseola.

Roseola starts with a fever. After 3 to 5 days, the fever goes down and a rash appears on the child’s face or body. The rash is made up of small, red dots that last for a day or two.

There can be a high fever that causes febrile (fever) seizures or convulsions in some children.

It is hard to know if a child has roseola until the rash appears. A doctor can tell if the child’s fever is caused by roseola or some more serious infection.

If your child has roseola, keep him or her at home until there has been no fever for 24 hours and he or she is feeling better.


Roseola is caused by two common viruses. 

They are spread through tiny droplets of fluid from the nose and throat of infected people when they laugh, talk, sneeze, or cough.

  • Roseola is not very infectious.
  • We are not sure how it spreads from person to person.
  • Children with roseola get better without treatment and usually have no further problems.


What to do at home for your child

  • If another child has roseola, watch your child for signs of roseola.
  • Call your doctor if your child develops a fever of 38.5ºC or higher or a febrile (fever) seizure.
  • To bring a child’s fever down, keep clothing light, such as a T-shirt and shorts or diaper.
  • If the child has a temperature of 38.5ºC or higher, sponge baths with a washcloth soaked in cool, not cold, water can help reduce the fever.
  • Offer your child plenty of fluids to drink.

For more information about how to look after a child with a fever, see Facts About Fever.

  • When taking care of a child with roseola, wash your hands often and always before preparing and eating food.
  • Tell caregivers that your child has roseola.