Fifth disease is a viral infection that most often occurs in children. However, adults can also get fifth disease. This infection is common and often mild in most children. It is characterized by a red, flat rash on the arms, legs, and cheeks. The cheeks are so red they appear ‘slapped.’ Children between the ages of 5 and 15 are most affected by this infection, but it often goes away within 3 weeks.
Fifth disease is caused by Parvovirus B19. This is an airborne virus that spreads through saliva and respiratory secretions. It affects young children more because they are in large, close groups such as at school. Adults don’t get fifth disease as often since they have antibodies that prevent them from developing the infection due to previous exposure that occurred during childhood.
Initial symptoms of Fifth disease often resemble mild flu symptoms. Fifth disease symptoms often include:
- Sore throat
- Low-grade fever
- Runny and stuffy nose
- Rash on the cheeks, arms, and legs – not itchy
The rash typically appears on one area of the body and then will re-appear in a different area. The rash may last for weeks but is not usually contagious.
In most fifth disease cases, the illness is mild and will clear up on its own. This illness is caused by a virus so it cannot be treated with antibiotics. If your child’s rash is itchy and uncomfortable, talk to our team at Trillium Creek about treatment options.