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Does my baby have Roseola? – my experience

Last Wednesday Tibbs woke up from her afternoon nap with a temperature of 41c. It was like holding a baby sized lump of hot coal, her chest and back especially were burning up.

Five days, two GP visits, two calls to 111 and one emergency trip to the urgent care centre, we got a diagnosis. Roseola.

The urgent care centre dash came because she woke up with a rash on her face, hairline, back, chest and knees which I thought was chickenpox or worse still, meningitis. By this time, the fever had gone, and I had thought she was on the mend. But as I watched her shake and scratch her head, I realised she was itchy. She’d never been itchy before, it’s weird to watch a baby learn to scratch an itch!

The rash can just be seen on the backs of her knees

Roseola is basically a four-day high fever, followed by a 24-48hr itchy rash. The rash, weirdly, comes at a time when the illness is passing and your child appears to be feeling better. Here’s some things I have learned about looking after a baby with Roseola which I thought it might be useful to pass on:

  • The high fever can be really high but treatment with Calpol and Nurofen combined as per your doctor’s prescribed doses really can be effective. I didn’t know the doctor could write a prescription for Calpol and Nurofen – saved money and also gave me crucial advice on  how to combine dosage for best effect
  • Like everything, I thought it was teeth at first. There was a lot of mucus, bashing of the face and wailing. Turns out a headache is also a Roseola symptom, plus achy body and loss of appetite
  • Fluids are vital, so I’ve been giving Tibbs extra milk, water, and making soft fruit purees and spooning them in when I can
  • Her sleep was awful, like teething sleep – crying every hour, for a couple of nights, then sleeping for huge periods of time
  • She’s spent most of this week in just a nappy, as it’s important to keep feverish babies as cool as possible, even at night
  • It’s a highly infectious illness, and is caught 10-15 days before the rash actually appears, which, in retrospect, explains the long period of grizzliness we’ve had
  • Our nursery had never heard of it. Which, having kept her off today, I can’t decide is a good or a bad thing
  • The doctor told me that nearly 100% of kids will have had it by 3yrs old, whether it was diagnosed or not. Which is something to look forward to

I searched ‘four day fever followed by a rash’ to get diagnosis from Dr Google before we went to the urgent care unit yesterday. Despite the many pitfalls of self diagnosis, it did give me some respite from fears about much more serious illnesses.

Has your baby had Roseola? Do you have any tips to add?

Another helpful link can be found here.


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  1. never heard of this! poor little bubba. is she feeling better now?

  2. bless her! it’s hard seeing them ill isn’t it?? Thankfully, my girls rarely get ill x

  3. Poor thing, that doesn’t sound like fun at all, but good work in getting it diagnosed! I can’t remember anything with a rash really happening, but it does bring back memories about the teething!

  4. Oh you poor things, sounds like an awful thing to go though – nightmare. I have never even heard of this, how strange considering the stat about them all having had it? Hope you’re all OK now x

  5. Bless her, I had this when I was pregnant with F and it was bloody awful. So glad to hear she’s on the mend. x

  6. Oh no I hope she is okay now? This sounds horrible – our little man had really bad chickenpox and would not like to go through that again. Ichy babies are a strange site, hope she is on the mend now

    laura x

  7. Oh poor little mite, that looks so uncomfortable, bless her. I think – and don’t quote me on this – Jaime from The Olivers Madhouse is working on something about this and she recently went to a meet up through Tots100 about it. Best to check with her though. Thank you for linking to PoCoLo 🙂 x

  8. I hope she is feeling better now? Poor thing!
    My older four have had this, the sudden high temp is quite scary.
    You have just made me realise all the illnesses we will probably now have to face again with O! This, chicken pox, hand foot and mouth, fifths disease, the list goes on lol #PoCoLo

  9. Emily Emily

    We are dealing with this now! The dr said it’s just a virus and will pass then a icky rash appeared. They didn’t think it was normal but when I looked on line everyone was saying the same spot the head and behind the ear was the itchy area and that it was still Roseola. Benadryl did the trick!!

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