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Fifth Disease in Children

What is fifth disease?

According to Wikipedia, “Erythema infectiosum or fifth disease is one of several possible manifestations of infection by erythrovirus, previously called parvovirus. The disease is also referred to as slapped cheek syndrome, slap-cheek, and slap face or slapped face. Occasionally the rash will extend over the bridge of the nose or around the mouth. In addition to red cheeks, children often develop a red, lacy rash on the rest of the body, with the upper arms and legs being the most common locations. The rash typically lasts a couple of days and may itch; some cases have been known to last for several weeks. Patients are usually no longer infectious once the rash has appeared. Teenagers and adults may present with a self-limited arthritis. It manifests in painful swelling of the joints that feels similar to arthritis. Older children and adults with fifth disease may have difficulty in walking and in bending joints such as wrists, knees, ankles, fingers, and shoulders. The disease is usually mild,[4] but in certain risk groups it can have serious consequences. When symptoms are evident, there is little risk of transmission; therefore, symptomatic individuals need not be isolated.” Below are more questions about fifth disease in children that are answered by an Expert.

If a two year old has fifth disease and the mother is thirty-three weeks pregnant, can the mother get the fifth disease?

In most cases, if the person tests positive for the antibody, then they will not contract the fifth disease. Generally when a mother is exposed to the disease, then it is most dangerous to the fetus in the first few weeks of trimester, therefore if the mother is way past that point, then the disease should not affect the fetus.

Can a parent that works in the emergency room bring home fifth disease to her child that is not around other children?

In most cases, when a parent works at the emergency room, then there is a chance that he/she can be bringing the disease or germs home with them from their work place. The parent may want to make sure that they change all of their clothing before leaving work to prevent them from carrying home any other germs or diseases from the emergency room.

If a one year old has contacted fifth disease, the mother is six weeks pregnant and formed a rash, would the fetus be at risk?

In most cases, when a mother contracts fifth disease form their child and is pregnant, then there is generally nothing that the doctors can to do treat or protect the fetus from getting fifth disease. There are some cases that the mother has contracted the disease and then not passed it onto their fetus, and the number of fetuses that are infected is normally less than 5%.

If a child has had fifth disease, when would be the best time for them to return to daycare?

In most cases, when a child contracts fifth disease, then they are only contagious a few days before the rash appears and is not contagious while they have the rash. If the child has the rash, then it is generally okay for them to return to school/daycare and be around other children. In most cases, fifth disease is harmless in children and adults and generally only causes issues with pregnant women in their first trimester and people with sickle cell disease.

Fifth disease in children is a type of rash that may cause concern for the parents and child. Concerns would generally be if the disease is contagious or if the disease will affect a pregnant mother. When these concerns or questions arise, then the person can seek the answers from an Expert.

Ask a Pediatrician

Dr. Yogindra Vasavada
Dr. Yogindra Vasavada, Pediatrician
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 2657
Experience:  M.D.(ped) passed at first attempt, in practice continuously for last 37 years. Certi. in Comp
16481530
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Recent Fifth Disease Questions

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    My great Granchildren ages 6and 7 1/2 KY have had high fever 1 hour went away,
    but bumps under the skin appeared on upper arms behind the knee down about 6 inches Went away, now the boys hands are peeling and her hands are drying out.
    Drs sent them home with aspirin. Other children in area have had it too.
    No long after effects other than hands just 1 week ago
    Any other reports? and have you heard of this?
    M Vrooman
    Vancouver WA
  • Hi, my daughter (who is Caucasian, will be 6 years old next

    Hi, my daughter (who is Caucasian, will be 6 years old next month & is in Kindergarten), has started having bouts of morning vomiting on & off for the last 7-8 months. It is occasional, and always occurs in the morning. It seems more frequent lately.
    It seems to be worse during the school year, as she didn't seem to throw up much during this past summer. However, she loves school & is not stressed or anxious. She is an outgoing child, and hates to miss school. The vomiting will wake her up about 5:00 am, she'll throw up lightly then she's fine. Whenever the vomiting hits, it's always between 5:00 am-10:00 am. She will get a little nauseous, then throw up between 1-3 times. When she vomits, it often isn't a lot, and looks like a yellow saliva, a couple of times it has been brown. Then she is fine the rest of the day. She is other wise healthy.
    She has some occasional constipation, but I have been giving her fiber gummy vitamins to help with that. She is a picky eater and is slender. I have read that children who do not eat enough through the day sometimes do this. My husband and I try to make sure she eats enough through the day and has a snack before bed. She does love chocolate milk, and drinks a lot of it. She also likes cereal with milk before school in the morning. I took her to her pediatrician about it, and he diagnosed her with acid reflux and put her on Ranitidine twice daily. The ranitidine may be helping slightly, but she is still having symptoms. He did not do any testing yet. She isn't having any constant headaches or neurological problems. She did tell me she had a slight headache after school the other day, but I just assumed she was tired and had a long day. She is very energetic.
    She felt nauseous like she was going to throw up this morning after I took her to school, and I had to sign her out of school because she felt bad. This is starting to affect her attendance. I plan to take her back to her doctor next week to see if he'll do further testing. Could her love of milk be causing this? Does this sound like acid relux or something more serious? Thank you very much...
  • My 12-week-old baby has a cold and she has a mild wheeze when

    My 12-week-old baby has a cold and she has a mild wheeze when she exhales. Do I need to see a doctor?
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