I had never heard of this disease before, and wanted to share what I learned this past week...because it is a disease that (typically) is not serious, but during the week-long infection...it is extremely frightening to watch your little one go through these awful symptoms!
Roseola is a viral infection that is so common, it affects MOST children before school age, especially in toddlers under age of 2 years.
Plus, once you realize what your child has Roseola (due to the "tell-tale sign" of a pink patchy-rash after a high fever), the illness is almost over.
So, to save some parents time and agony for future, here is my run-down of Roseola.
According to the Mayo Clinic:
Roseola is characterized by a sudden high fever (103 degrees, or even higher!), that can last for many days (my son's fever lasted five days). Then the tell-tale sign is a rash over the belly, back, neck and face AFTER the fever is over. The rash is not painful and not itchy.
I also learned that my husband and I have different ideas of what a "rash" is. I was shocked to see a rash over my son's body (pink dots all over), and my hubby said "that's no rash!". His idea of a "rash" is a large area of a continuous red patch, not a few pink dots.
So, just to be clear: a "rash" is defined as any change in the skin; an eruption on the body typically with little or no elevation above the surface.
A frightening complication of Roseola, due to the spike in fever, is febrile seizures. I wrote about our experience with my son's first (and hopefully only!) seizure, convulsing and loss of consciousness here: (http://www.empowher.com/ask/maternity-/-parenting/my-toddler-had-a-febri...).
I did not realize that seizures were also common and nothing to worry about...although it is scary to go through (and, at the time, you're not sure what exactly is happening).
I was told by my pediatrician to call if a fever lasts more than 24 hours. So, I was nervous when my son's fever was lasting for five days! I didn't know how much fever-reducing medicine to give him, as the package says to not give more than 5 doses in 24 hour period. Great, but what if the fever lasts 120 hours on-and-off?! Has this happened to you?
Lastly, after a week of rocking, holding and carrying my once-semi-independent son continuously, sleeping on the floor in his room, rocking him to sleep, trying to be comforting when he is crying and irritable (and, frankly, irritating to be around...sorry to say!!)...he gets a rash all over his body, and I find it ironic that this is a good sign?! Oh well...the body works in mysterious ways, I guess.
He is pretty darn cute, smiling and laughing now that he's feeling better, although he's blotchy and speckled with a rash. Good thing he still thinks he's cute (he likes to kiss the mirror at the cute baby looking at him!).
I am curious, though--why is Roseola so common, and extremely contagious, and is not mentioned to first-time parents?! I really am a normal, laid-back person until I visit the E.R. with my child, and then I turn into hyper-vigilant, over-protective, emotional-yet-stable (and un-stable) mother!
One additional note about fever-reducing medicines. I received conflicting information, and am curious what everyone else's pediatricians have told them. The E.R. doctors/nurses told us to "stay on top of his fever" by giving him a regime of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. I realized, in practice, this means giving him medicine round the clock...and then how do you know when the fever is gone or is the medicine still just working?! Our pediatrician said you *don't* want to "stay on top of the fever", and to give as little medicine as it takes to control the fever (which is more of our philosophy, anyways). He said that fever-reducing medicine is to make the child comfortable, not to prevent a febrile seizure from occurring again. Interesting...any thoughts?
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