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Roseola is mainly a childhood disease. Almost all of the cases of roseola occur in the first two or three years of life. Roseola begins with a high fever, usually followed by a rash. About 30 percent of all children in the United States get roseola. There is also a type of roseola that occurs in adults who have a serious illness.
Signs and Symptoms
What Causes It?
Roseola is caused by the human herpes virus 6 (HHV-6). It is still unknown how the disease is spread but it may be present in saliva. The incubation period is 5 to 15 days.
What to Expect at Your Provider's Office
Your child's health care provider may take blood to check for other conditions and complications. He or she will take your child's temperature and talk to you about how to take care of your child's roseola at home.
There is no cure for, prevention of, or treatment to shorten the length of roseola. Most cases are harmless and are over within a couple of weeks. Cool baths can help reduce fever. Make sure your child drinks a lot of fluids. It prevents dehydration.
Over the Counter
Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Herbal teas are anti-fever, and calming. Adult doses are listed, unless otherwise specified. The formula to determine the child's dose is (age of child divided by 20) x adult dose. Adult doses may given to the mother to treat breastfeeding babies.
Immune stimulating: vitamin C (1,000 mg three times a day), zinc (30 to 60 mg per day), and beta-carotene (250,000 IU/day).
Herbs may be used as dried extracts (capsules, powders, teas), glycerites (glycerine extracts), or tinctures (alcohol extracts). Unless otherwise indicated, teas should be made with 1 tsp. herb per cup of hot water. Steep covered 5 to 10 minutes for leaf or flowers, and 10 to 20 minutes for roots.
Mix four to six of the above and drink as a tea, 1cup three to four times per day or as a tincture, 60 drops three to four times per day. In addition, a strong tea (2 tbsp. herb) can be added to a bath to keep fever down.
Garlic (Allium Sativum)/ginger (Zingiber officinalis) tea (one to three cloves garlic and one to three slices of fresh ginger) may be drunk to stimulate the immune system and prevent upper respiratory infections. Lemon and a sweetener may be added for flavor. Do not give honey to children under 2 years old.
Some of the most common remedies used for roseola are listed below. Usually, the dose is 12X to 30C every one to four hours until your symptoms get better.
Warming socks. Wet cotton socks with cold water, wring them out, and put on the feet. Put on dry wool socks over the cotton socks and go to bed. This treatment, while uncomfortable at first, will help disperse a fever and allow for a good night's sleep.
Wet sheet wrap. Wrap the child in a cotton sheet that is wet with cold water and wrung out. Then wrap the child in another blanket. Especially in infants, this will disperse a fever and allow a restful sleep.
Acupressure for children may be quite calming and help reduce the fever.
Gentle massage may relieve discomfort. A foot massage may help relax the child. Some children will not want to be touched, however.
Most children get well within about a week with no problems. If your child has a seizure, call your provider or emergency room immediately.
Avoiding infected children is the only prevention. There is no vaccine for roseola.
Behrman RE, Kliegman RM, Nelson WE, Arvin AM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 15th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 1996.
Bove M. An Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children and Infants. Stamford, Conn: Keats Publishing; 1996:174–176.
Fauci AS, Braunwald E, Isselbacher KJ et al, eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 14th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 1998.
Morrison R. Desktop Guide to Keynotes and Confirmatory Symptoms. Albany, Calif: Hahnemann Clinic Publishing; 1993:3–6, 58–62, 115–117, 310–315.