Fifth disease, or slapped cheek syndrome, can cause a bright red rash on one or both cheeks while the rest of the face is pale. On darker skin, it may be harder to see.
Fifth disease, known medically as erythema infectiosum, results from infection with the parvovirus B19. It is one of the five most common viral diseases in children, along with measles, rubella, chicken pox, and roseola.
Other symptoms may include a mild fever, aches, joint pain, and a general feeling of being unwell, known as malaise. The rash usually last around
Fifth disease is usually a mild illness that
This article will explain how to recognize fifth disease and what to expect, particularly regarding rashes.
The symptoms of fifth disease usually appear
Most children with fifth disease will have a rash. However,
On pale skin, the rash can make the cheeks look bright red, which is why some people call it slapped cheek syndrome. The rash may be harder to see on darker skin tones.
Rash on the trunk and limbs
Some days after the facial rash appears, some people also develop a rash in the chest, back, arms, buttocks, and legs. It does not usually affect the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.
The body rash involves papules or bumps and may be itchy, especially in adults. On lighter skin, it may show as purplish, pink, or red. However, it may be harder to see on darker skin. As it goes away, it might look lacy.
According to the
As well as a rash, a person may experience flu-like symptoms. These usually appear before a rash.
Joint pain may occur as the virus progresses, and it can appear without other symptoms. It usually lasts
In rare cases, fifth disease
Fifth disease tends to have
2 weeksof exposure to the virus, a person feels unwell, possibly with a fever, muscle aches, headache, vomiting, or diarrhea.
- A face rash appears and lasts
4–5 days. When the rash is present, the person can no longer pass on the virus.
- A body rash may appear and usually lasts around
a week. It may be itchy in adults.
Joint symptoms may last beyond the rash and other symptoms. A person with joint symptoms cannot pass on the virus.
Infection with parvovirus B19 causes fifth disease. The virus
The virus can also pass on through blood during pregnancy to a fetus.
Experts believe the rash is immune-mediated, which means it occurs as the immune system reacts to fight the virus.
People with fifth disease are most likely to pass on the virus during the first stage of the illness. Once a rash or joint pain appears, the virus is no longer infectious.
Doctors will usually diagnose fifth disease by looking at the rash and asking about symptoms.
In some cases, a doctor may suggest an antibody blood test. Tests can usually detect antibodies in the blood
There is no specific treatment for fifth disease, and it will usually resolve alone within around
Most people do not need to see a doctor with fifth disease.
However, anyone who has or may have fifth disease should seek medical advice if they:
- have a blood disorder or weakened immune system
- are pregnant
- have symptoms that persist or worsen over time
- are a child and develop joint pain
Fifth disease is a viral rash that mostly affects children. However, it can occur in adults. It can cause a rash on the cheeks followed by a rash on the body.
It results from infection with parvovirus B19 and is most common in the spring. Other names for fifth disease include erythema infectiosum or slapped cheek syndrome.
Fifth disease is usually mild and goes away on its own. However, over-the-counter medications and home remedies can help manage symptoms. Moisturizing creams and antihistamines may help with a rash.
Anyone who has a blood disorder, a weakened immune system, or who is pregnant and who may have fifth disease should speak with a doctor.