Facts on Fifth's
FACTS ON FIFTH DISEASE
Fifth disease, which is especially common in kids between the ages of 5 and 15, usually produces a distinctive red rash on the face that makes a child appear to have a "slapped cheek." The rash then spreads to the trunk, arms, and legs.
About Fifth Disease
Fifth disease is actually just a viral illness that most kids recover from quickly and without complications.Fifth disease (also called erythema infectiosum) is caused by parvovirus B19. A human virus, parvovirus B19 is not the same parvovirus that veterinarians may be concerned about in pets, especially dogs, and it cannot be passed from humans to animals or vice versa.
Signs and Symptoms
Begins with a low-grade fever,
and mild cold-like symptoms (a stuffy or runny nose).
These symptoms pass, and the illness seems to be gone until a rash appears a few days later.
The bright red rash usually begins on the face. Several days later, the rash spreads and red blotches (usually lighter in color) extend down to the trunk, arms, and legs. The rash usually spares the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. As the centers of the blotches begin to clear, the rash takes on a lacy net-like appearance. Kids younger than 10 years old are most likely to get the rash.
Most kids with a rash do not look sick and no longer have fever. It may take 1 to 3 weeks for the rash to completely clear, and during that time it may seem to worsen until it finally fades away entirely.
A person with parvovirus infection is most contagious before the rash appears — either during the incubation period (the time between infection and the onset of symptoms) or when experiencing only mild respiratory symptoms. The rash of fifth disease usually lasts 1 to 3 weeks.
Parvovirus B19 spreads easily from person to person in fluids from the nose, mouth, and throat of someone with the infection, especially through large droplets from coughs and sneezes.
Kids with fifth disease may attend childcare or school, since they are no longer contagious. Once infected with parvovirus B19, a person develops immunity to it and won't usually become infected again.
Fifth disease is caused by a virus, and it cannot be treated with antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections. The doctor may recommend acetaminophen for fever or joint pain.There is no vaccine for fifth disease, and no real way to prevent spreading the virus.
Isolating someone with a fifth disease rash won't prevent spread of the infection because the person usually isn't contagious by that time.
Practicing good hygiene, especially frequent hand washing, is always a good idea since it can help prevent the spread of many infections.
When to Call the Doctor
Call the doctor if your child develops a rash, especially if the rash is widespread over the body or accompanied by other symptoms.
If you're pregnant and develop a rash or if you've been exposed to someone with fifth disease (or to anyone with an unusual rash), call your doctor or midwife.