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Alternate Names

  • exanthema subitum
  • pseudorubella
  • Roseola


Roseola is a bodywide infection caused by a herpes virus.

What is going on in the body?

Roseola is an infection caused by the human herpes virus 6, HHV6, and possibly HHV7. These are not the same herpes viruses that cause cold sores or genital herpes .


What are the causes and risks of the infection?

Roseola is a herpes virus infection. It is usually seen in children between the ages of 6 months and 2 years.


What can be done to prevent the infection?

Some cases of roseola may be avoided by staying away from infected individuals.


How is the infection diagnosed?

Diagnosis of roseola begins with a medical history and physical exam. Blood tests are not usually ordered but are available.

Long Term Effects

What are the long-term effects of the infection?

Usually, roseola clears up on its own without any long-term effects. Rarely, it can lead to a more serious infection, including:
  • encephalitis, or infection of the brain
  • hepatitis, an infection of the liver
  • meningitis, or infection of the brain and spinal cord linings

Other Risks

What are the risks to others?

Roseola can be passed to other children who have not already been exposed to the virus. No one knows for sure how roseola is spread from child to child. Experts believe it is probably transmitted in secretions from the nose and mouth.


What are the treatments for the infection?

Since roseola is caused by a virus, antibiotics are not effective. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be used to reduce fever.

Side Effects

What are the side effects of the treatments?

Acetaminophen and ibuprofen may cause stomach upset or allergic reactions.

After Treatment

What happens after treatment for the infection?

After the roseola runs its course, the child can return to normal activities.


How is the infection monitored?

Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.

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