Rash after Fever

Rash after Fever

Author: Nicole Marty, MD

Fever followed by a rash is common in children. The most common cause is a viral illness called Roseola.

What is Roseola?

It is a viral illness which commonly affects children between 6 months of age and 3 years (although it can affect children both younger and older).

What are the signs of Roseola?

Initial signs:

  • Fever (sometimes higher than 103 degrees F) from 24 hours up to one week.
  • Mild respiratory symptoms such as runny nose, watery eyes and cough.
  • Fussy/irritable and may not want to eat well

Once the fever is gone:

  • Once the fever is gone (it often ends abruptly) a pinkish-red flat or raised rash appears on the trunk
  • The red spots of the rash may have a white "halo" around them
  • The spots turn white when pressure is applied
  • The rash usually then spreads to the face, neck, arms, and legs 

Do I need to bring my child to be seen by a doctor if they have Roseola?

No, if your child is otherwise doing well (not dehydrated, lethargic or severely ill) you can monitor them at home. If they are very ill or have a rash which is not like the one described above, they should be seen.

Is Roseola Contagious?

Yes, it is contagious. However, once the rash has broken out on your child's body, they are no longer contagious. Once the rash appears, they can go back to daycare or school as well as their normal activities.

How long does it last?

The fever of roseola lasts on average from 3-7 days and the rash can last from hours to a few days. Once the child has broken out in the rash, they usually feel better.