Have you come across the image of a small kid with red rashes all around his body? Just reading this can bring a lot of fear in your mind. So, can you imagine the fear that parents with such a kid will get when they see their baby with rashes around the body like in the images below?
Yes, what you have guessed is right. Roseola is a skin disease and it generally affects kids between the age group of 6 months and 2 years. Let us gather some useful details about this skin disorder that you should know if you are a parent of a kid in this age group:
Roseola is otherwise referred to as the sixth disease. The other names for this skin health issue are roseola infantum and exanthema subitum. It is a viral infection and it is marked by many days of high fever. Immediately after the fever breaks, the kid will get distinctive rashes. The rashes will be visible not just in the stomach and chest area, but also in the back, face, and legs as well. In fact, the red rashes will be visible all over the body. Here are some facts to remember about this disease:
- It is actually a mild viral infection that is common in kids.
- It is characterized by a sudden high fever. The fever will last for around three to five days.
- The kid will also have loose stools and mild nasal congestion accompanied by fever.
- Once the fever goes away, rashes start to appear.
- The relieving thing for parents is that the rash will last just for one to two days. The rashes will resolve themselves without requiring any treatment.
- The most important thing to remember here is that the rashes are not contagious.
Even though the rashes are not contagious, the infection can spread when a kid with this disease talks, coughs or sneezes, thereby sending droplets into the air that other kids can breathe in, thereby spreading the infection. Further, the droplets can also fall in surfaces and if other kids happen to touch these surfaces, they can get infected as well. The disease might be contagious at the phase of the fever. But, does not spread at the time when the rashes breakout.
Of course, the rash will go away, but the disease can spread between kids and there is no specific season for this disease to spread. The disease is caused by the virus that is commonly referred to as the human herpes virus 6 and human herpes virus 7. These are two closely related viruses and they belong to the same family called as Herpes Simplex Viruses (HSV). However, the good thing about these viruses is that they do not cause the cold sores and also genital herpes infection that is caused by other HSV viruses.
Most kids with this disease get a mild upper respiratory illness initially. It will be followed by a high fever of more than 103oF for nearly a week. At this time, the child can become irritable or fussy. Also, he/she will not show interest in food consumption. Even, parents might see swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, parents can also notice that the high fever generally ends abruptly. Immediately after the fever subsides, pinkish-red flat or even raised rashes begin to show up all over the body. But, when someone touches the rash spots, they will turn white. Even in some spots, there might be a lighter halo around them. The rash generally spreads to the legs, arms, face, and neck.
Also, at the stage of the fever, the fast-rising fever can trigger convulsions caused by high fevers in nearly 10-15% of young kids. Signs of convulsions include unconsciousness, bowel or bladder control loss and 2-3 minutes of twitching or jerking in the face, legs, and arms. In general, the fever will last for 3 to 7 days, while the rashes will last for a few hours to even few days in some kids.
There are not many types of this disease. However, it is caused by two types of viruses that belong to the same family called Herpes Simplex Viruses (HSV).
Those with a compromised immune system are at the risk of developing this virus infection. It would include new-born babies in the first six to eight weeks of life, those getting chemotherapy and also those with diseases that affect their immune system like HIV AIDS. However, a healthy kid under 6 months feeding on the mother’s milk can still be safeguarded by the antibodies that pass on from her mother.
Lab tests are rarely recommended by doctors for diagnosing Roseola. The reason is that they diagnose the disease by physical examination and using the characteristic history of this viral infection. Rarely, lab tests exist for demonstrating an increase in the level of antibodies. At times, if the doctor is not sure, he/she might recommend a blood examination to make sure that there is no other type of infections.
In general, treatment for Roseola is not needed and the doctor might recommend medicines just to bring down the fever. The reason is that it is caused by a virus and not bothersome bacteria. Once the fever reduces, the kid can get back to his/her routine activities. Complications are rare in patients with this viral infection unless the child has a compromised immune system. In the case of healthy kids, their body will naturally develop immunity towards the two viruses that cause this disease.
Roseola Natural Home Remedies
Some parents use lukewarm sponge baths with a view to bringing down the fever. But, there is no clear evidence that it works. On the other hand, sponge bath can make some kids feel uncomfortable. The parent should make sure that dehydration is prevented. So make sure that child drinks water on his own, parents can motivate him to drink plenty of clear fluids like water. Even, electrolyte solutions suitable for kids can help. In the case of kids under breastfeeding, breastmilk will prevent dehydration.
Parents should make sure that the child with a fever is kept comfortable. He/she should never be overdressed. The reason is that it can increase the temperature and can also the associated discomfort. To bring down the fever, bathing with lukewarm water will help. However, if the kid develops shivering when bathing, the temperature of the water can be raised slightly. Alcohol sponging should be avoided. The reason is that if the kid inhales alcohol, it might lead to other health issues.
Prevention is hard. The reason is that during the incubation period, the infected child will not have any symptoms. However, having health awareness and keeping away from febrile and ill kids will bring down the chances of exposure to the virus that leads to Roseola. There is no vaccine at present to prevent this viral infection. As it is a viral infection, antibiotics won’t help.
It is important that daycare centers and preschools, where most kids are affected by the Roseola virus should make sure that they maintain proper hygiene. Also, they should ensure about the decontamination of toys and other articles that kids share among themselves. Parents should motivate basic handwashing habits in a kid right from the young age. Kids should also be motivated to cough and sneeze into tissues and they should also be motivated to immediately throw the tissues to prevent the disease from passing on from one kid to another.
In short, Roseola is not a fearful infection. In the case of healthy kids, if they get this infection, their body will develop antibodies to the virus causing this disease to prevent it in the future. So, parents need not have any fear unless the kid has a compromised immune system.