What is the fifth disease?
The fifth disease is a viral infection that usually results in a red rash on the arms, legs, and cheeks. For this purpose, it’s also known as “slapped cheek disease.”
It’s reasonably simple and mild in most children. It can be more difficult for pregnant women or anyone with an agreed immune system.
Most doctors advise people with the fifth disease to help out the symptoms. This is because there’s currently no medication that’ll shorten the development of the disease.
But, if you have a reduced immune system, your doctor may want to closely monitor you until the symptoms are gone.
Parvovirus B19 creates the fifth disease. This airborne virus leads to spread by saliva and respiratory issues among children who are in elementary school. The fifth disease is made by parvovirus B19. This parvovirus only infects humans. Other forms of the virus can affect dogs and cats.
Its most common trusted Source in:
- late winter
- early summer
But, it can spread at any time and among people of any age.
Many adults have antibodies that stop them from developing the fifth disease because of their previous condition during childhood. When making the fifth disease as an adult, the symptoms can be hard.
If you get a fifth disease while pregnant, there are serious risks for your unborn baby, adding life-threatening anemia.
For children with healthy immune systems, the fifth disease is a common, mild illness that unusually presents lasting results.
The first symptoms of the fifth disease are very common. They may follow mild symptoms of the flu. Symptoms usually add:
- low-grade fever
- sore throat
- runny nose
- stuffy nose
According to the Arthritis Foundation, symptoms tend to look 4 to 14 days after presentation to the virus.
After a few days of having these symptoms, most young people develop a red rash that first looks on the cheeks. Sometimes the rash is the first symptom of the illness that’s published.
The disease leads to clear up on one area of the body and then re-look on another part of the body within several days.
In addition to the cheeks, the rash will often look on the:
- the trunk of the body
The rash may last for weeks. But, by the time you see it, you’re usually no longer infectious.
Children are more likely to get a rash than adults. The main symptom adults regularly experience is joint pain. Joint pain can last for many weeks. It’s usually most prominent in the:
How is the fifth disease diagnosed?
Doctors can usually make the diagnosis by easily looking at the rash. Your doctor may test you for special antibodies if you’re likely to face serious results from the fifth disease. This is particularly true if you’re pregnant or have a compromised immune system.
How is the fifth disease treated?
For most healthy people, no treatment is important.
If your joints are damaged or you have a headache or fever, you may be directed to take over-the-counter (OTC) acetaminophen (Tylenol) as wanted to relieve these symptoms. Unless you’ll want to wait for your body to fight off the virus. This normally takes one to three weeks.
You can help the method along by drinking a lot of solutions and getting extra rest. Children can usually return to school once the red rash looks since they’re no longer taking it.
In rare examples, intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) can be applied. This treatment is usually held for severe, life-threatening cases.
- Acetaminophen helps lower fever and reduce muscle aches and pains.
- Antihistamines to treat itching that may come with the redness.
Fifth disease in adults
While the fifth disease normally affects children, it can happen in adults. As with children, the fifth disease in adults is almost forever mild. Symptoms add joint pain and swelling.
A mild rash might happen, but a rash isn’t always present. Some adults with fifth disease event no symptoms at all.
Treatment for these signs is typically OTC pain medication, such as Tylenol and ibuprofen. These medications can help decrease swelling and joint pain. Symptoms usually develop on their own within one or two weeks, but they may last for many months.
Adults rarely experience difficulties with fifth. Women who are pregnant and adults with a weak immune system or chronic anemia may experience difficulties if they get the fifth disease.
Fifth Disease Complications
The fifth disease is normally mild for unless healthy kids and adults and acts a little health risk.
But it can cause chronic anemia in some people. You could want a blood transfusion, which would need a hospital stop. If you get the infection through the first half of pregnancy, you have a 10% risk of miscarriage and a small risk of critical anemia for your baby.
You’re more likely to have severe complications from the fifth disease if you have a reduced immune system. States that can weaken your immune system add leukemia and other cancers, HIV infection, and organ transplants.
Fifth Disease Transmission
When is the fifth disease contagious?
The fifth disease is contagious in the newest phase of the infection before significant symptoms like a rash develop.
It’s transmitted by respiratory secretions, such as saliva or sputum. These fluids are commonly produced with a runny nose and sneezing, which are early signs of the fifth disease. This is why the fifth disease can be transferred so simply and so fast.
It’s only when a rash develops, if one does, that it could become clear that the signs are not the result of a normal cold or flu. Rashes typically develop two to three weeks after illness to the virus. By the time a rash looks, you’re no longer infectious.
The fifth disease is circulated by blood and by respiratory droplets that enter the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Adults who work with young children — such as child care providers, teachers, and health care workers — are most likely to be displayed. By the time the rash looks, children are no longer taking and may attend school or daycare. The incubation period (the time within infection and signs or symptoms of disease) is usually 4-14 days, but it can be as long as 21 days.
The Fifth disease during pregnancy
Most people who come into touch with the virus that makes the fifth disease and those who later develop an infection will have no problem as a result. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 50 percent of pregnant women trusted Source are immune to the virus, so they won’t explain the fifth disease even if they’re shown.
In those who aren’t immune, exposure could mean mild illness. Symptoms may add:
- joint pain
- a mild rash
A developing organism is unlikely to be affected, but it’s likely for a mother to give the condition to her unborn child.
In rare cases, a fetus whose mother has caught parvovirus B19 can develop critical anemia. This condition makes it hard for the developing fetus to build red blood cells (RBCs), and it could start miscarriage.
Miscarriage made by the fifth disease is not normal. Less than 5 percent of pregnant women trusted Source who get the fifth disease will lose their fetus. Miscarriage normally happens in the first trimester, or first three months, of pregnancy.
There’s no treatment for the fifth disease through pregnancy. But, your doctor will likely request further monitoring. This may include:
- more prenatal visits
- additional ultrasounds
- regular bloodwork
Fifth disease in babies
Mothers who are diagnosed with the fifth disease can transmit the virus to their developing fetus. If this occurs, the baby could contract severe anemia. But, this is rare.
Babies with anemia produced by the fifth disease may need a blood exchange. In some cases, the condition could cause stillbirth or miscarriage.
If a baby gets the fifth disease in utero, there’s no treatment. The doctor will monitor the mother and fetus during the pregnancy. The baby will likely get additional medical care after delivery, including a blood transfusion if needed.
If your child has bright red cheeks but has not been playing outdoors in the cold, it might be the fifth disease. This common childhood illness got its name because it was the fifth disease on a historical list of six common skin rash illnesses in children. It is made by a virus called parvovirus B19, which is also recognized as Erythema infectiosum.
The illness usually is not severe. Symptoms of the fifth disease may add a mild rash, fever, runny nose, muscle aches, and a headache. Cracks in school-aged children are familiar in late winter and early spring.
How do I know if my child has a fifth disease?
The fifth disease starts like many other viral infections, so it can be hard to know for certain if your child has it. Your doctor will look at the rash and may do blood tests to verify for antibodies to the virus.
The rash is the best clue. A bright red rash that first looks at is what is known as the “slapped cheek” rash. Sometimes another rash that seems lacy looks a few days later. The second rash regularly starts on the trunk and spreads to the arms, legs, and even the treads of the feet. It may be itching but normally goes away after about a week. Even following a child is better, the rash can appear weeks or months later when your child is hot (through exercise, bathing, etc.).
How does the fifth disease spread?
The fifth disease spreads from person to person by respiratory droplets. Symptoms normally show up 4 to 14 days after being presented with the virus, with the slapped-cheek rash displaying up about 4 to 21 days after your child becomes infected.
A child is most infectious before the rash looks and is not contagious after the rash looks. Once a person has fifth disease, they normally cannot get it again.
Good hand hygiene is the best method to prevent the spread of the fifth disease in school, child care, and at home. Remind children to throw away used tissues and assure that surfaces and objects that children touch are cleaned and sanitized always.
When can my child go back to school or child care?
When you see a rash, your child is no longer taking it. The fifth disease is usually mild and goes away with some rest and healing at home. Your doctor may recommend acetaminophen for fever, aches, or pain.
Does the virus ever make serious problems?
Yes. The virus can change the way the body makes red blood cells, the cells that carry oxygen through the body. This puts children who have a blood disorder or weak immune system at serious risk if they catch the virus.
The virus can also cause red blood cell counts to drop so low that a blood transfusion is wanted. Children with cancer such as leukemia, HIV infection, and some types of anemia (low red blood cell counts) such as from sickle cell disease, usually must go to the hospital if they catch the fifth disease. If your child has any of these conditions, verify with your doctor the first symptoms of the rash.
Can fifth disease be confused with another rash?
There are several other skin rash disorders, but not all of them see the same. Some–like measles, rubella (German measles), and chickenpox (varicella)–are easy to verify if your child is up to date on immunizations.
Viruses also are accused of common childhood skin rashes like a hand, roseola, and mouth disease, foot, and even cold sores.