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Childhood Skin Problems

How Is Roseola Diagnosed?

To diagnose roseola, a doctor will take a history and do a thorough physical exam. A diagnosis of roseola is often uncertain until the fever goes down and a rash appears. As a result, the doctor may order tests to make sure that the fever is not caused by another type of infection.

How Is Roseola Treated?

In most cases, roseola does not require treatment other than trying to bring down a high fever. Antibiotics cannot treat roseola because it is caused by a virus.

Acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) or ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) can help to reduce your child's fever. Avoid giving aspirin to a child because the use of aspirin in such cases has been associated with the development of Reye's syndrome, which can lead to liver failure. A sponge or towel soaked in cool water may help comfort the child until the fever drops. Ice, cold water, alcohol rubs, cold baths, and fans should be avoided.

Encourage your child to drink clear fluids such as water with ice chips, children's electrolyte solutions, sodas like ginger ale, or clear broth. Fluids decrease the risk of dehydration.

Call your child's doctor if your child is lethargic, not drinking, or if you cannot keep his fever down. 

Can Roseola Be Prevented?

There is no known way to prevent the spread of roseola. The infection usually affects young children but rarely adults. Therefore, it is thought that exposure to roseola in childhood may provide some lasting immunity to the illness. Repeat cases of roseola may occur, but they are not common.

Fifth Disease

Fifth disease is a highly contagious condition caused by human parvovirus. The condition results in a facial rash that looks like the cheeks have been slapped.

Fifth disease usually affects school-aged children.

What Causes Fifth Disease?

The virus that causes Fifth disease is transmitted by sneezing or coughing. The disease is only contagious before the rash appears.

What Are the Symptoms of Fifth Disease?

Most children with fifth generally have minimal symptoms, if any, other than a rash. Symptoms of Fifth disease include:

  • Flu- and cold-like symptoms such as coughing, runny nose, fever, generalized aches and pains in joints and muscles, loss of appetite, and irritability.
  • A facial rash that looks as if the cheeks have been slapped; the rash is not painful but is warm to the touch.
  • Spreading of the rash to the thighs and arms.

 Aches in joints are sometimes seen in adults, rarely in children.

How Is Fifth Disease Diagnosed?

In most cases, a doctor can diagnose Fifth disease by seeing the typical rash during a physical exam. To confirm the diagnosis, a blood test may be done to look for antibodies to parvovirus.

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