Fifth Disease

Fifth disease, also known as slapped cheek disease, is an infection caused by a virus. It is so named because Fifth disease was the fifth pink-red rash in childhood to be described by doctors. It usually occurs in the winter and spring, but a child can become ill with the disease any time of the year.

What are the possible symptoms?

Your child may not feel ill, but may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  •  Low grade fever
  •  Tiredness, runny nose, sore throat
  •  Flushed cheeks (looks like the face has been slapped)
  •  Rash on the arms, legs, and body that may last up to 3-6 weeks. Sometimes the rash can come and go for weeks. It can happen more if your child is in the sun, or becomes warm.

How does it spread?

  •  Direct contact
  •  Through the air if an infected person coughs or sneezes

How long is it contagious?

  • For about one week before the rash appears
  • A child is no longer contagious when the rash is present
  • Once the rash appears, and the fever has been gone for 24 hours, your child may return to school or day care.

What is the treatment?

Your child’s doctor will talk about specific care for your child. Some general guidelines to follow include:

  • Give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) to control fever. Ask your child’s doctor for dosing instructions.
  • Most children with Fifth disease do not become very ill, and will get better without any problems.
  • As always, please call the office if you have any concerns about your child!