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A to Z: Roseola

May also be called: Sixth Disease; Exanthem Subitum; Roseola Infantum

Roseola (also known as sixth disease) is a viral illness, most commonly affecting kids between 6 months and 2 years old.

More to Know

Roseola is usually marked by several days of high fever, followed by a distinctive rash just as the fever breaks. It begins with crankiness, swollen glands, and a high fever — often over 103°F (39.4°C) — that lasts for 3–7 days. In some cases, the fast-rising fever can trigger a seizure.

When the fever goes away, a pinkish-red rash develops on the trunk that can last up to 3 days. The rash often spreads to the neck, face, arms, and legs. The rash's spots turn white when touched, and individual spots may have a lighter "halo" around them.

Roseola may be contagious during the fever phase. It is not contagious by the time the rash breaks out.

Keep in Mind

Roseola is a common illness among infants and young children and usually gets better in a week or so. The focus of treatment is keeping the child comfortable and hydrated.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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