How is roseola diagnosed?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Your doctor may diagnose roseola based on a physical examination and the presence of several symptoms. These usually include a high fever that may last three to seven days, followed by a splotchy rash that may start on the abdomen and spread to the rest of the body. Roseola is a viral infection that occurs in almost all children before they enter kindergarten. Your pediatrician may recommend giving your child plenty of fluids and fever medication and keeping him away from other children until the fever breaks.
Deborah Mulligan
Deborah Mulligan on behalf of MDLIVE
Roseola is contagious and spreads through tiny drops of fluid from the nose and throat of infected people. These drops are expelled when an infected person talks, laughs, sneezes, or coughs. Other people who breathe the drops in or touch them and then touch their own noses or mouths can then also become infected.

The viruses that cause roseola do not appear to be spread by kids while they are exhibiting symptoms of the illness. Instead, someone who has not yet developed symptoms often spreads the infection.

To make a diagnosis, your doctor first will take a history and do a thorough physical examination.  A diagnosis of roseola is often uncertain until the fever drops and the rash appears, so the doctor may order blood or urine tests to make sure that the fever is not caused by another type of infection such as a bacterial illness with similar symptoms.  

Recovery is quick.  Roseola usually does not require professional treatment, and when it does, most treatment is aimed at reducing the high fever. Antibiotics cannot treat roseola because a virus, not a bacterium, causes it. Your child should feel completely better by the time the rash has disappeared.

Continue Learning about Viral Infections

Viral Infections

Viral Infections

Viral infections like herpes simplex, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), chicken pox and rotavirus are infections caused by a virus instead of a bacterium. Viral infections do not respond to antibiotics, but some specific viruses ...

like influenza A and B can be treated with certain antiviral medications. Most commonly, treatment for viral infections includes drinking lots of fluids, getting rest, eating well and letting the illness run its course.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.