Slapped Cheek Syndrome

What Is Slapped Cheek Syndrome?

Fifth’s disease is often referred to as slapped cheek syndrome, and occationally called erythema infectiosum. This particular disease is caused by a specific virus, the parvovirus, B19 virus. This strain of the parvovirus is different thant the parvovirus which affects animals. It typically presents in children between the ages of 3-15, although it is contagious no matter what your ages is. It has an incubation period of between 4 to 20 days, following this this rash will occur. Once the rash is present, the virus is not contagious any longer.

The rash itself is most commonly described as very red almost burn like marks on the cheeks. It appears as if the face has been struck on one or both cheeks. Occasionally the rash can be splotchy sections on the cheeks. It is not painful and can appear as a faint rash on the legs, arms, and trunk. The rash can be intermittent appearing and disappearing repeatedly for a few weeks. More often than not, the rash will appear, run its course, and then clear up.

This illness is typically mild compared to some childhood diseases even though the rash appears extreme. Your child shouldn’t feel too under the weather. A few secondary symptoms are sore throat, headache, runny nose, and a slight fever. These typically last for 2-5 days and show up at about day 7 of the illness. Pain and stiffness of the joints are symptoms are more prominent in aduts. In rare cases, 1 in 4 to be exact, show no symptoms, and the illness passes without a second glance, showing no rash and only a mild fever.

A doctor usually performs an examination and the presence of the rash is typically enough for a diagnosis. Occasionally a blood test is used. This test shows any past history of the disease and also if you currently have it. The disease does not recur if you have had it in the past because antibodies will have built up in your system.

There Are Few Occasions When This Illness Can Become Serious

  1. Occasionally in children with diseases that are hereditary for instance beta-thalassemia, hereditary spherocytosis, and sickle cell disease. It is not necessarily that the illness itself is worse, but the hereditary disease can take a sudden turn for the worst, increasing V symptoms of their chronic illness.
  2. Individuals with compromised immune systems for instance someone with an HIV infection or cancer can in fact develop a more serious case of Fifths Disease.
  3. Women who are pregnant can have complications for their unborn child if exposed to fifth’s disease. Most mothers are not seriously affected themselves because typically they are immune to the disease because of being exposed to this virus as a child. In pregnancies prior to 20 weeks the women are more likely to have a miscarriage when exposed and infected with the virus.

How To Treat Slapped Cheek Syndrome

This type of illness does not usually need any type of treatment from your doctor. A vaccine for this illness has not been created. It is important to get an examination so that you can be properly diagnosed to find out what type of rash is present. Your family physician will likely suggest acetaminophen or Ibuprofen reduce your fever, headache, and joint pain.

On rare occasion people who develop complications may need other treatment.


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