Roseola /also known as 6th disease, exanthema subitum and roseola infantum / is a viral disease in young children, most commonly affecting those aged between 2 and 6 years.

It proceeds usually with a few days of high fever, followed by a characteristic rash that appears after the body temperature drops.

How to take your child’s temperature?

By placing a thermometer in the mouth/oral/, in the bottom /rectal/ and under the arm /axillary/.

The most common causes of the disease are 2 viruses: human herpes virus /HHV/, type 6 or possibly type 7.

The infectious organisms belong to the same family and are better known as herpes simplex viruses /HSV/, but HHV-6 and HHV-7 cannot cause cold sores and genital herpes infections , such as the herpes simplex viruses cause.

What are the symptoms?

Affected children usually develop a mild upper respiratory illness followed by a fever lasting more than 1 week with body temperature rising above 39.5 degrees Celsius.

During this time, the child may become nervous or irritable, may have a reduced appetite and swollen lymph nodes in the neck area.

The high temperature in most cases drops sharply and at the same time, a pink-red flat or slightly raised above the surrounding skin rash appears in the buttock area, which subsequently covers the body.

The spots turn white when touched, and some even have a white “halo” around them. The rash usually spreads to the neck, arms, face and legs.

The rapidly rising temperature characteristic of the disease causes febrile convulsions /convulsions due to the high temperature/ in about 10-15% of young children.

Symptoms of febrile seizures are:

• Unconsciousness;
• 2-3 minutes of twitching or spasms in arms, legs, or face;
• Loss of bladder or bowel control.

Is sixth disease contagious?

Exanthema subitum is contagious and spreads through the throat and nasal secretions of infected people. They are thrown out when, for example, the infected child talks, laughs, coughs or sneezes.

Other people who breathe in the infected secretions or touch them and then touch their hands to their nose or mouth may then also become ill.

The viruses that cause the disease are not supposed to spread from children when they have already started to show symptoms.

Treatment of roseola

The disease usually does not require medical treatment, but if it does, it is aimed at reducing the high temperature.

Antibiotics are not effective because a bacterium, not a virus, causes it.

To lower the temperature, use paracetamol or ibuprofen and in no case aspirin, due to the increased risk of Reye’s syndrome.

To prevent dehydration you can give your child more fluids.


The characteristic fever lasts from 3 to 7 days, followed by a rash that lasts from several hours to several days.


There is no way to prevent the spread of the disease.

Since the viral infection usually affects young children and very rarely adults, it is believed that after it subsides, the body builds up permanent immunity to the causative agents.

Nevertheless, cases of recurrence of the disease have also been described, but they are extremely rare.

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