Fifths Disease

Fifth disease is one of the common viral infections that occur in school children during winter. It causes pinkish red appearance on the cheeks which looks like someone has slapped the child. Some of the symptoms of fifth disease include skin rash, mild fever, and joint pain and slapped cheeks. It is contagious and spreads to other children easily. Often no treatment is required for this disease and anti-inflammatory drugs can be given.

In rare cases fifth disease viral infection can cause miscarriage in pregnant women. There were many skin rashes like measles, rubella, chicken pox, and rubella and roseola infantum in those days and since the new disease was placed in the fifth list, it was named as “fifth disease” which can be easily remembered.

How it spreads?

Fifth disease is highly contagious and spreads through air droplets of the infected child. Often a healthy child with good immunity will not develop this disease. The air particles would contain the droplets of infected virus which spreads to other children when the affected child coughs or sneezes. Pregnant women with low immunity can get affected which can cause severe anemia in the developing fetus and in rare cases abortion.

Causes :

It is the parvovirus B19 that causes fifth disease. The virus remains in the body of the host for certain period (5-14 days) during which there will be no symptoms for the child. But during this period, the child has every chance of spreading the infection. Once the rash begins to appear on his/her cheeks, the child will not become contagious. The viral infection is common during winter and spring.

Symptoms :

Some of the common symptoms of fifth disease are mild fever, headache, skin rash, tiredness, joint ache, runny nose and sore throat. This disease is characterized by the presence of rose cheeks that resembles slapped cheeks. For this reason it is also known as slapped rash disease. After 2-4 days of initial symptoms the child may develop rash on his cheeks followed by other body parts.

For some children, the rash may spread to other parts of the body like hands, legs and torso. The child will not remain contagious by the time the rash starts appearing. For some children, the joint pain may continue till a month or even more.

Complications :

In very rare cases, pregnant women can get infected with fifth disease, if her immunity is low. The virus can infect the growing fetus causing chronic anemia and even miscarriage.

Diagnosis :

Most of the initial symptoms of fifth disease resemble other viral infections. The doctor can confirm the diagnosis after the appearance of rash on the cheeks.

Treatment :

No medical treatment is required for fifth disease, since most of the symptoms will get resolved in 2 or 3 days. If there is headache with fever the child can be given acetaminophen or paracetomol. The infected child should be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. The child should be given complete rest and can be sent to school after the rosy rash begins to appear. Doctors will not prescribe antibiotics for fifth disease since it is caused by virus and not bacteria. People with chronic immune problem or anemia may require medical care.

Pictures of Fifths Disease :

Images, Pics, Pictures and Photos of Fifths Disease

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Tips for Prevention :

Educate the child to wash hands properly before eating food and after using the toilet. Give instructions to cover the mouth or nose while sneezing or coughing.

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