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Rosy Red Makes Toddler Blue

Maddie spiked a fever on Friday afternoon
and ran with it all weekend, staying in the 102s and 103s through
Sunday night. Hopped up on children’s Motrin, she felt fine
if a bit listless, and didn’t understand why she wasn’t
allowed out and about to play with friends. Crying bitterly when
told she couldn’t go to church and children’s chapel,
Maddie was genuinely bewildered at her enforced quarantine. For my
part, I wasn’t too worried as long as the fever stayed
manageable and no other symptoms showed up.

So for the weekend Maddie actually had it pretty good; we’ve
got her travel inflatable toddler bed, and when she’s sick we
blow it up and throw it on the floor of the gameroom. During sick
days, all restrictions on television are off – it’s the
only way to keep that busy girl down and resting. Which means that
the weekend turned into a Sesame Street and Davy and Goliath
marathon, with Maddie lying pale and contented, ice water and
crackers at her side, while the rest of us tried to keep Cora away
and prayed no one else suddenly got hot.

Monday morning her fever broke, lingering
for the day just above normal, and I kept her home from playgroup
just to be safe. Boy am I glad I did, because Tuesday Maddie woke
up free of fever but dusted with a light rash on her chest. As the
day progressed the rash spread, until by mid-afternoon it was all
over her belly and back. A quick search of the Internet and phone
call to the doctor later, and we were on our way to the
pediatrician to confirm everyone’s suspicion – roseola.

Apparently roseola is caused by a virus nearly everyone in the
world contracts; some folks develop roseola as infants, while
others develop a very mild version of the disease, but everyone
carries it around for the rest of their lives. Babies are born with
an immunity to the virus thanks to mommy’s antibodies, but
those antibodies usually wear off around 12 months or so, which is
why some doctors refer to roseola as baby’s first birthday

Why, then, did Maddie not get it until she turned three? Beats me.
She’s always had a very strong immune system, but three is
definitely on the outside age range for this thing; anything over
four is unheard of. Roseola’s marked by a high fever for a
few days, then the appearance of a rash when the fever breaks. And
that’s it – no other dramatic, life-threatening
symptoms or anything. All in all, it’s a benign disease
providing the fever’s managed and the patient’s kept

I’m crossing my fingers that we’ve not passed it on to
anyone else; we’ve been in lockdown since the symptoms came
on, so I’m hopeful. Of course, my biggest fear is Cora
– will she spend several sleepless nights with a high fever?
Will we again be a house of quarantine? I sincerely hope not,
praying with all my heart that she’ll be one of the lucky
ones who don’t develop the full disease. Unfortunately, we
won’t know for some time: with an incubation period of 5-15
days, roseola is hard to pin down infection-wise. Meaning Cora
could have been infected at any point up through yesterday, and
we’ll have to wait about ten days from that infection to see
the disease show up.

I’ve been told that once she’s been fever-free for 24
hours she’s no longer infectious, whether the rash is there
or not. Of course, if I were at a play date and a kid showed up
with a big rash I’d freak out, so I’m keeping Maddie
away from close contact until she’s symptom free. I’ve
got a toddler chomping at the bit for some fresh air and fun
(“But Mommy, please let me go to the pool tonight! I know
I’ve got a rash, but the pool will wash it off for
me!”) and hope to set her free tomorrow. And pray that Cora
doesn’t get struck down with this in another week or so.

Otherwise, it’ll be round two with the sleepless nights, and
since Cora’s not allowed t.v. until she’s 2,
we’ll be in for some very long, crabby days.


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