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Cary Cook BSN RN

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Roseola or Baby Measles: What Parents Should Know

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Babies are often cuddly, squirmy, happy little people. However, it is very likely that during their infancy they will acquire roseola.

As the Mayo Clinic says, this “generally mild infection is extremely common.”

Roseola, sometimes called Sixth Disease or baby measles, is characterized by a high fever, followed by a pink-red raised or flat rash.

The rash often appears as the fever is breaking, covering the child’s neck, face, arms, and legs and turns white when touched, says KidsHealth a project of Nemours, dedicated to improving children’s health.

This viral infection appears most often in between six months and two of age.

Suffering from a high fever, often over 103 degrees Fahrenheit, from 3-6 days, the rash will arrive later lasting from a few hours to a few days.

Along with a fever and rash, the child might also experience fatigue, irritability, decreased appetite, mild diarrhea, and swollen eyelids, says the Mayo Clinic.

However, in severe cases a fever can cause seizures.

As KidsHealth says, “The fast-rising fever that comes with roseola triggers febrile seizures (convulsions caused by high fevers) in about 10-15 percent of young children.”

Similarly, the Mayo Clinic says, “Although frightening, fever-related seizures in otherwise healthy young children are generally short-lived and are rarely harmful.”

Though the seizures will most likely not harm the child, a medical professional should be contacted immediately if this occurs.

Spread by nasal or throat droplets of those infected with roseola, this very infection is highly contagious. However, once the rash appears, it is much less contagious says the Mayo Clinic.

Though the infection is contagious, the Mayo Clinic says, “Unlike chickenpox or other childhood viral illnesses that spread rapidly, roseola rarely results in communitywide outbreak.”

Caused by human herpes virus (HHV) type 6 and 7, parents should know this is not the virus that causes cold sores or genital herpes.

Unfortunately, since roseola is a virus and not a bacteria is cannot be cured with antibiotics, says the Mayo Clinic.

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Thank you for the info! My little boy had fever for 3 days and then this bad rash and then I found this website!

May 3, 2012 - 11:06am
EmpowHER Guest

Great information, my 2 yr. granddaughter just contacted a mild case. Thanks for the "flat ginger ale" tip.

January 7, 2012 - 8:13pm
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