Toddler with high fever? It could be Roseola!

February 06, 2009

Roseola sounds like the name of sweet young maiden. But it is not sweet at all. It is otherwise called as Baby Measles or Sixth Disease.  It is a common but mild viral illness that affects young children from 6 months to 2 years of age. The main culprit behind Roseola is human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) or occasionally, HHV-7 or other viruses.

How to identify Roseola?

Many parents are not aware of the existence of a viral infection called Roseola and hence they fail to identify it. Parents tend to ignore the high fever in their child mistaking it for Influenza in the beginning. But even with a high fever of 103F your child may look very active but slightly irritable. If your child is infected with Roseola he may have a high fever followed by a pink-red raised or flat rash on the torso, neck and arms. To your utmost relief your child would look normal and undisturbed and wouldn’t look sick at all. But with a few days he would break a rose colored rash raising alarm and concern. The rose color may gradually turn into purple or red colored spots. It is very likely that Roseola be accompanied by cold, cough or viral flu symptoms.

Some children experience breathing problems, diarrhea and ear infections. There is no need to panic if your child experiences occasional seizures too. Roseola is very common and it rarely leads to any serious complications.

How does your child get Roseola?

Only humans host the Roseola viruses. Roseola is asymptomatic and the viruses may live within a person, be it an adult or a child, for months without any sign of illness. It may spread to a person mainly through their respiratory secretions on close contact. And it will take around ten days for the symptoms to show up. Studies show that almost all infants may have been infected by the virus at some point of their lifetime even if they have not shown any sign of the infection.

How to care the child with Roseola?

Your child may show discomfort with a high fever and rashes. Give him plenty of rest and lots of liquids. Bed rest is recommended. Avoid carbonated beverages or let the gas escape before you give him any carbonated drinks. Other than water, give him lemon drinks, clear broth, ginger ale or electrolyte drinks to keep him hydrated. Ginger tea with a couple of garlic cloves can be given to avoid upper respiratory infections and to keep you strong.

Lukewarm sponge baths can be given. If your child feels itchy, use a cold compress on the area. Roseola cannot be prevented and there is no real cure for it. One has to wait patiently as time has been its best healer so far.
You should not hesitate to seek medical attention if your child has breathing problems, persistent vomiting, worsening body pains or headache or confusion.

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