Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Viral Exanthem Overview

What is a viral exanthem?
A person with a viral exanthem has a rash caused by a viral infection. Viral exanthems are most common in children, especially those who have not been vaccinated against measles, rubella, and chicken pox. Additional causes for viral exanthem include mononucleosis, fifth disease, roseola, measles, German measles, chicken pox, and adenovirus infections. Viral exanthems are very common, and usually resolve without treatment over 10 days.

What are the symptoms of a viral exanthem?
The main symptom of a viral exanthem is a rash. Symptoms that may occur with a viral exanthem include body aches, cough, fever, headache, nasal congestion, nausea, runny nose, sore throat, or vomiting.

How does the doctor treat a viral exanthem?
Treatment for a viral exanthem may include rest, plenty of liquids, skin moisturizer, oral antihistamines for itching, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for fever and pain.

Continue to Viral Exanthem Incidence

Last Updated: Aug 31, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Viral Exanthem References
  1. Duke T, Mgone CS. Measles: not just another viral exanthem. Lancet. 2003 Mar 1;361(9359):763-73. [12620751]
  2. Gildea JH. Human parvovirus B19--flushed in face though healthy (fifth disease and more). Pediatr Nurs. 1998 Jul-Aug;24(4):325-9. [9849265]
  3. Leach CT. Human herpesvirus-6 and -7 infections in children: agents of roseola and other syndromes. Curr Opin Pediatr. 2000 Jun;12(3):269-74. [10836165]
  4. Mankuta D, Bar-Oz B, Koren G. Erythema infectiosum (Fifth disease) and pregnancy. Can Fam Physician. 1999 Mar;45:603-5. [10099795]
  5. Stoeckle MY. The spectrum of human herpesvirus 6 infection: from roseola infantum to adult disease. Annu Rev Med. 2000;51:423-30. [10774474]
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