Roseola is an infectious disease affecting babies and small children up to the age of two.


Roseola is an infectious disease affecting babies and small children up to the age of two. It is caused by the human herpes viruses 6 and 7. The typical fever lasts three days on average and is followed by a short-lived skin rash, primarily on the torso. The child should rest
and be given lots of fluids. If febrile seizures occur for the first time, this should be discussed with a doctor.


  • Incubation period: 5 to 15 days
  • First phase with high fever
    • Child generally feels well
    • Increased occurrence of febrile seizures
    • Abrupt drop in temperature after three days
  • Second phase with sudden onset of a skin rash
    • Small pink spots
    • Mainly on torso and neck
    • Lasts from a few hours to a maximum of three days

Accompanying symptoms and complications

Causes and treatment



  • Lifelong immunity
  • Herpes viruses remain in the body


  • Physical examination
  • Blood test (usually not necessary)


  • Painkillers and fever-reducing medication (paracetamol or ibuprofen)
  • No vaccine is available
  • No established anti-viral therapy

What can I do myself?

  • Reduce the fever (lukewarm calf wraps, only recommended from the age of 6 months)
  • Give the child lots of fluids
  • Rest, bed rest for high fever
  • Child does not have to be isolated
  • If known tendency of febrile seizures
    • Give fever-reducing medication at an early stage
    • Keep emergency medication at hand

When to see a doctor?

  • Fever
    • During first two months of life (always)
    • > 40°C
    • > 3 days
  • Signs of dehydration
    • Dry mucosa/skin
    • Baby: sunken soft spot on top of the head (fontanelle)
    • Reduced urinary output (dry nappies)
  • Changes of consciousness (abnormally sleepy)
  • Loss of consciousness, seizures
  • Hypersensitivity to touch, stiff neck
  • Laboured breathing, long breathing pauses


roseola, roseola infantum, exanthem subitum, sixth disease

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.