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Experts Corner

Pediatrics/Children's Health

Roseola
By Barbara Parker, RN, ARNP, CNM

Q. What is this and how did my sweet little 6 month old get this? She had fever for 3 days, low grade, then a rash. It went a way quickly. What causes this, and is there anything about it I should know?

A. Roseola is a viral illness (also know as the 6th disease) which is spread by droplet--that is someone coughs, and you touch them, or they touch you or you breathe their air . . . you get the idea, which is common in children under two years old. You will only have it once, and then you are immune. Typically, the presentation is that the child runs a fever, sometimes up to 103, but usually less, and then the fever goes away and they break out in a rash--fine pale pink tiny spots, that don't itch. The usually start on the abdomen and spread to the face and extremities over the following 24-48 hours. It does NOT appear on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, or in the mouth or mucous membranes. Then it fades away. That's about it. No harm done. But kids are contagious when they have the fever, BEFORE they break out, so no one usually notices!

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