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For the first few days of roseola, a high fever might be the only symptom. Some kids might also have mild cold-like symptoms, a smaller appetite than normal, and will be fussy. But after a roseola fever breaks (usually in a few days, but it may last a week), a rash of pink or red flat or slightly raised spots, often with a lighter halo at their edges, appears on the trunk and may spread to the face and limbs. The rash can disappear within hours or a couple of days, and isn’t itchy or uncomfortable.
Roseola is a virus, spread by coughing, that tends to affects kids between 6 months and 2 years. Once a child has roseola, he probably won’t get it again. After exposure to the virus, it can take a week or two for symptoms to appear.
A child’s age and fever symptoms often lead a doctor to suspect roseola, but it usually takes the appearance of the rash to make a definitive diagnosis. There’s no blood test to confirm it, although with a high fever, your doctor might order a test to make sure a more serious bacterial infection isn’t the culprit.