Roseola is a mild viral illness that affects children between 6 months and 3 years old. Symptoms include fever, cold-like symptoms, cough and a pink rash. Roseola usually lasts around four days and almost never requires any medical treatment. Most symptoms are so mild that parents do not even realise their child is infected with the virus. 


APPOTEK can help you with roseola.


Roseola is caused by a virus from the herpes group, but it does not cause other herpes infections like cold sores. In the past, roseola was sometimes referred to as ‘baby measles’. It commonly affects children aged between six months and two years, and 95 per cent of children have been infected with it by the age of two. Roseola is contagious before the symptoms appear, so it is difficult to prevent its spread to others.


The virus spreads through hand contact or via air droplets (coughs and sneezing). Incubation period is about ten to fifteen days. Children with roseola can only spread the infection before the fever and/or rash occur. Once your child has symptoms, they are no longer contagious.


Roseola begins with a sudden high fever, 39-40 degrees, that lasts for three to seven days. Symptoms may also include cold-like symptoms and cough. When the fever subsides, many children – but not all – can get a bright-red rash. The rash is small – about two to five millimeters in size – but it can be diffuse and cover large parts of your child’s body. You first see the rash on the chest and back. It can later spread to the neck, arms, legs and face. The rash doesn’t itch and disappears within a few days. 

Prevention and protection

There is no known way to prevent the spread of roseola and there is no vaccine. Thorough hand hygiene is the best way to help reduce the spread of the virus.


If your child has a fever, make sure they get enough fluids. There are non-prescription fever-reducing medicines you can use in cases of high fever. Ask the pharmacy what suits your child. (Remember that children and adolescents under 18 years of age should not use medications which contain aspirin without a doctor’s recommendation, because of the risk of Reye’s syndrome.)


Children who have a fever should stay home. Once their fever has passed, they are no longer contagious and can return to school, even if they still have a rash.


There is no treatment for roseola, but it passes naturally within a few days. Rest and symptomatic treatment can be recommended if needed.

When to consult a doctor

Seek care if the fever persists for more than a week, or if the rash persists for more than three days. You should also seek care if the fever reaches 41 degrees and your child becomes lethargic, does not want to eat or drink or has any neck stiffness. If your child has a febrile seizure, contact your doctor immediately.

How APPOTEK can help

APPOTEK can help you with roseola. A doctor or nurse will make an initial diagnosis during the video consultation. They can also give prescriptions or refer you for further examination, if needed.


Valeria Chernikova, Neurologist, M.D.