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Common Signs of Common School Ailments

Sixth Disease (Roseola Infantum)

This acute rash is caused by a virus. It is usually associated with several days of a high fever, followed by a distinctive rash as soon as the fever breaks.
Some symptoms of this illness include:
  • Sudden fever (often over 103°F or 39.5°C) for up to a week
  • Swelling of the eyelids
  • A rash that develops as fever is breaking
  • A rosy-pink rash that starts on the neck and chest and then spreads to the rest of the body
  • The rash spots turn white if you press gently on them (and they may have a lighter-colored ring around them)
  • The rash typically lasts one to two days.
Due to the sudden high fever, it is possible that your child may experience febrile seizures (febrile means "having a fever"). These are convulsions of uncontrolled body movements that are brought on by a sudden increase or decrease in body temperature.
Some signs of a febrile seizure may include:
  • Spasms or jerking movements (large or small)
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Lasts one or two minutes.
In general, febrile seizures usually occur at body temperatures reaching 102°F (38.9°C) or higher; however, they can also can occur at lower body temperatures or when a fever is dropping. In children younger than age five, having a fever for any reason can initiate a febrile seizure.
Sixth disease is rarely seen in children older than age four and most often occurs between the ages of six months and two years. It is spread through direct contact with the nose and throat secretions of an infected person.
Because this is a viral infection, antibiotics are ineffective for treatment. In general, treatment is aimed at controlling the fever and other symptoms that may occur.
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