Your kid comes back from school with a red rash on the cheek. You are shocked. You ask if he had a fight or the teacher slapped him. But he smiles innocently and soon you find the rashes appearing in other parts of his body. It is nothing but fifth disease that your kid has been struck with.

Go through the article and also check out the pictures of fifth disease to know all about this common sickness.

Photo by  : flickr

What is Fifth Disease?

This malady is also known as ‘Fifths Disease’, ‘Slapped Cheek Disease’ or ‘Slapped Cheek Syndrome’. It owes its name to the fact that it is the fifth most contagious disease in children. This is a mild infection that generally affects kids from the 5 to 15 age bracket. But children below 5 years have also been seen to suffer from this ailment. Kids usually catch this disease during the winter and spring seasons. However, a person can fall prey to the illness at any time of the year.
In medical terms, this sickness is known as ‘Erythema infectiosum’. School children, mothers, teachers and day-care persons are the ones who are always at a high risk of contracting this disease.

Causes of Fifths Disease

This sickness is caused by Parovirus B19. Before you are alarmed, be relaxed that this is not the same parovirus that affects pets like dogs. The Parovirus B19 is a completely human virus. It cannot be transmitted from animals to humans or vice versa. But it can be transmitted among human beings. A normal person can contract this disease if he or she is exposed to the body fluids of an infected person. The virus is exposed to the air through coughs and sneezes of the affected person. Once it comes in contact with air, it can enter the respiratory system of a normal person and make him or her sick. The virus is also transmitted through exposure to the saliva or mucus of an affected person. Sharing clothes or utensils of an infected person can also bring on the illness.

Symptoms of Fifths Disease

As mentioned earlier, Fifth Disease sufferers generally look like they have been slapped on the cheek. A red rash appears on one or both cheeks of such people. The surrounding face area also looks pale. The red rash is generally preceded by a mild fever and physical discomfort. The fifth disease rash appears almost a week after the fever.

The rash on the cheek, which looks like a lace, is followed by similar rashes in other parts of the body. These red or pink rashes first appear in the upper body areas. In the later days, these spread to the lower areas also. These rashes may last from a week to about a month. They are accompanied by pain in the joints. These joint pains may linger even after the rashes have gone away.

In some cases, fifths disease in children is accompanied by other symptoms like headache, itching and sore throat. The rashes may come and go for months.

Fifth Disease in Adults

Children are not the only victims of fifth disease. Adults can also suffer from this common ailment. Normally, half of the adult population have a history of suffering from the sickness sometime during their childhood. As a result, they develop immunity to the ailment. But if a grown-up has never been a fifths disease sufferer, there are chances that he or she may be affected by the malady. This is because of the absence of immunity to Parovirus B19 in the body.

Symptoms of Fifths Disease in Adults can Include

  • Rashes, though their cheek do not look ‘slapped’ unlike children
  • Pain or swelling in the joints
  • Mild fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches

In the absence of rashes, diagnosing Fifth disease in adults becomes difficult. This is because the symptoms look similar to many other adult ailments.

Fifths Disease and Pregnancy

Normally, this ailment carries no serious threat to pregnant women. However, there are cases where the Parovirus 19 has led to severe anaemia in the unborn baby and thus caused a miscarriage. The risk is higher for women who are in earlier stages of pregnancy. But only 5% of all women suffer from this ailment during their pregnancy. Some people believe that fifth disease in a pregnant woman can result in the birth of a mentally retarded child. However, there is no scientific evidence to support it.

Fifth Disease Treatment

As such, Fifths disease has no treatment or cure in the real sense. But there is no reason to panic! The disease itself is of a mild nature and maintaining proper hygiene can cure it naturally. If you suspect yourself or your kid to be suffering from this ailment, you can contact a doctor. A blood test will be conducted to check if there is Parovirus 19 in the body system. If the infected person is suffering from fever, make him or her drink lots of water and other fluids. A lot of sweat is lost during this time and the body can be dehydrated. Do not wrap the sufferer with blankets. Give him a sponge bath from time to time. You can provide him with painkillers if he complains of joint pains or body aches.

The sickness usually stays for at most a month and goes away naturally. It is best to avoid going out in sunlight, working out or living in depressive environment during the time of illness. Heat, sun-rays and trauma can again activate the rashes or make them worse. The disease is usually of a mild variety, posing to serious health threats or life risks.

But it can be a cause of concern for pregnant women. Pregnant women or their relatives can discuss with their doctors if they suspect they have contracted the disease. Doctors can check the health of the baby with ultrasound and if needed, treat it while still in uterus.

It is best to prevent contracting the disease before it infects you.

Prevention of Fifths Disease

This illness can be prevented with good hygiene. If someone in your family is suffering from it, isolate him or her to a separate, well-ventilated room. Mucus or saliva of that person can affect you or other family members also. Treat him or her in isolation.

You should also wash your hand repeatedly to avoid contracting the virus. Do not use objects used by the affected one. You should also keep pregnant women or persons suffering from blood pressure or low-immunity diseases away from the infected person. Otherwise, they may catch it too.

Fifth Disease Pictures

Unlike most other illnesses, this disease does not carry any serious threats to health. As you can see in the pictures of fifth disease, it is a mild sickness that causes moderate physical irritations. The rashes and accompanying symptoms may look very discomforting. But these generally vanish after a brief period. With good hygiene, you may not contract the disease at all. And if you had a prior history with the malady, you are certainly at a much lower risk. So there is no cause for concern.

Photo by  : Wikimedia Commons

Photo by  : flickr

Photo by  : flickr

Photo by  : Wikimedia Commons


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