Roseola in children or in adults: contagion, treatment, symptoms, what is it?
Roseola in children or in adults: contagion, treatment, symptoms, what is it?

Roseola in children or in adults: contagion, treatment, symptoms, what is it?

Roseola in children is a contagious disease which mainly affects children of under two years. However, it can occur in adults in rare cases and present numerous complications.

Definition: what is roseola?

Roseola, sometimes known as exanthema subitum or sixth disease is a contagious disease due to a human herpes virus (HHV 6). It most commonly involves a sudden fever and a rash or ulcer.

Infant roseola affects children aged between 6 months and 2 years. It is generally mild and becomes rarer after 4 years. However, it can also occur in adults in some cases and can cause numerous complications.

It is estimated that 90% of infants have been infected before entering nursery school and they are therefore afterwards immune for life.

Symptoms: how to recognise roseola

The first symptom of roseola is a high fever (over 39°C) which occurs suddenly. It lasts on average between 3 days and a week and can be accompanied by swollen lymph nodes in the throat, headaches, feeling tired or runny noses.

After some days, pink spots appear on the skin around the face and the torso. This rash can also extend to other parts of the body, causes itchiness and lasts between 1 and 3 days.

In some cases, the strong fever can cause febrile convulsions in the child. The body begins to shake uncontrollably. This phenomenon disappears quickly and is not often followed by consequences. However, it is recommended to consult a doctor.

Roseola in adults

In extremely rare cases, roseola can affect adults. It is taken very seriously due to its complications being heavy and having serious consequences for the body.

It can cause hepatitis, meningoencephalitis, thrombocytopenia, liver inflammation or an infection in the brain tissue.

Treatment: how to care for roseola

Roseola is a relatively mild illness which disappears after a few days. The treatment that comes with it is therefore only symptomatic.

Generally, medicine prescribed to care for the fever are ibuprofen, acetaminophen. It is also recommended to rest well and drink lots of fluids to avoid dehydration.

By Stacey Williams
Last edited

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