Roseola: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Complications

What is Roseola?

Roseola, also known by the name of Sixth Disease, is quite a common medical condition seen in children. It is caused by the HHV-6 and rarely by HHV-7 virus. It normally affects children between the ages of 6 months to one year. In fact, 90% of cases of Roseola are caused in children below two years of age. The primary presenting feature of Roseola includes high grade fever of 104 degrees Fahrenheit for about three to four days. Post the fever, there will be eruptions of pinkish colored rash starting from the trunk.[1]

Roseola is a common condition around the world and constitute for around 40% of all febrile illness in children. In some cases, the fever caused due to Roseola cause the child to experience seizures. This is because of the ability of the virus to pass through the blood-brain barrier.[1]

What is Roseola?

Roseola is a self-limited condition and all the symptoms resolve once the virus runs its course and become latent. However, people who are immune compromised may tend to have certain complications as a result of Roseola. It should be noted that Roseola is an extremely contagious condition and spreads through respiratory secretions.[1]

What Causes Roseola?

As stated, Roseola is caused due to HHV-6 virus. On rare occasions, it is also caused by the HHV-7 virus as well. It is contagious and there is no seasonal preference and it can occur at any time of the year. It normally strikes in infants as their immune system is still in the developing stage. For children under six months of age, there are antibodies of the mother which protects it from the virus.[2]

What are the Symptoms of Roseola?

The symptoms of Roseola can be observed after about a week of contracting the infection. The symptoms may not appear if the infection is mild in nature. However, if it is severe then the child will have a high grade fever. This will be then followed by a pink rash that begins in the trunk and then spreads to the arms, legs, face, and neck.

These rashes at times may be raised. In some cases, there may be a ring like structure around the circumference of the rash. These rashes slowly become white and then fade away as the virus runs its course in a few days.[2]

Some of the pertinent symptoms that can be observed in children with Roseola include upper respiratory symptoms like persistent cough and irritability. The child will also have diarrhea, runny nose, loss of appetite, swelling of the eyelids, sore throat. These symptoms may occur with the fever seen with Roseola or without it.[2]

What Are The Complications Of Roseola?

Roseola is quite a benign condition and very rarely causes any complications. It generally takes around a week for all the symptoms to completely go away. However, in some children there may be some complications seen. This includes febrile seizures which require immediate medical attention. This is generally seen in children who have a sudden spike of temperature.[2]

During a seizure the child may lose consciousness and have jerking of the limbs. There will also be loss of control of bladder and bowel. Having seizures during high fever is not a cause of alarm and does not show that the child has epilepsy in any way even though emergency treatment is needed to treat the seizure.[2]

Complications are also quite common in people who have a compromised immune system in adults. It may take much longer for such people to recover from Roseola infection. The common complications in such people include pneumonia and at times encephalitis which is a potentially serious condition.[2]

How is Roseola Treated?

There is no treatment as of yet for Roseola and the virus runs its course and the symptoms fade away. However, there are medications that can calm down the symptoms of this condition. The best way to manage the symptoms of Roseola is by drinking plenty of fluids and staying hydrated. Children should be fed with water, lemon juice, and electrolyte solution. At the discretion of the physician, the child may also be given pain medications for relief of pain and discomfort that comes along with Roseola.[2]

It should be noted that children under the age of 16 should never be given aspirin unless it is specifically recommended by the physician. Antivirals are also given for treatment of Roseola. The most preferred medication for Roseola includes ganciclovir. Children need plenty of rest till the time the symptoms fade away.[2]

In case if the child is active enough to play then they should be allowed to do so but care should be taken so that they do not exert themselves too much. To bring down the fever cool compresses can be used. Normal activities can resume once the temperature comes back to normal for at least a period of 24 hours.[2]

References:

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