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Three-Day Fever

Eksanthema subitum (Latin name)

By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

A mild childhood disease you only contract once in a lifetime. After three days of fever, the child gets a rash. If your child is drowsy, you must call the doctor immediately.

Three-day fever is a highly contagious childhood disease caused by a virus. The name three-day fever refers to the first 3 days of fever, followed by a pink rash covering most of the body while the fever drops.

The disease only appears with children of the age of 6 months to 3 years. Already after 2 years of age, far most children have had three-day fever. The child can only contract the disease once in a lifetime.

The disease begins with a fever lasting 3 days. The temperature often goes as high as 39-40ºC but the child is not much affected by it. This means that the child wants to watch TV, listen to the radio or can be distracted by play or reading aloud.

While the fever drops, the child develops a red rash. The rash starts on the chest and neck and later spreads to most of the body. It consists of very small pink spots that will disappear when you press a finger on them – contrary to the spots that appear with meningitis.

The rash that appears from three-day fever never lasts very long and can disappear already after a few hours and lasts no longer than 1-2 days.

There is no treatment for the disease.

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The disease is highly contagious and infects by air. It takes 5-15 days from the child has been exposed to contagion till it gets a fever.

Day care:
The child is kept at home until the temperature is normal and the child can participate in its usual activities without extra care.

What can you do?

The child must be dressed lightly and stay in a cool room to get the temperature to drop. The child should have plenty to drink since it loses fluid when suffering from a fever. The child does not have to stay in bed since it is not affected by the disease.

Contact the doctor tomorrow

If the child has a fever and does not want to drink.

Contact the doctor immediately

If the child seems drowsy (lies completely still in bed and does not want to listen to stories or play). If the temperature gets higher than 40.5ºC.