Skin Rash Could Be Fifth's Disease
Sue Hubbard, M.D.
Even though summer has arrived in most parts of the nation, I'm still seeing typical spring illnesses like Fifth's disease. Fifth's disease is a common viral illness seen in children, often in the late winter and spring.
Many of these patients look like they've developed a little "sunburn" on their faces, as they often show up in the office with a "slapped cheek" rash. They may also have a lacy red rash on their arms and legs, and occasionally even on their trunks. Fifth's is also called erythema infectiosum, so named as it's the fifth of six rashes associated illness of childhood.
Fifth's disease is caused by Parvovirus B19, a virus that infects humans. This is not the same parvovirus that infects dogs or cats. Your child will not give it to their pet or vice a versa.
In most cases, a child may have very few symptoms of illness, other than the rash. In some cases, a child may have had a low-grade fever, a runny nose, or a few days of "not feeling well" before the rash develops. The rash may be so insignificant as to not be noticed.
When I see a child with Fifth's disease, it's usually an easy diagnosis based on their few symptoms and the typical rash. Although children with Fifth's are probably contagious at some time during the illness, it's thought that by the time the rash occurs, the contagious period has passed. This is why you never know where you got this virus; the incubation period is somewhere between 4-20 days after exposure.
Parvovirus B19 may be found in respiratory secretions and is probably spread by person-to-person contact. During outbreaks, it's been reported that somewhere between 10 percent and 60 percent of students in a class may become infected. Most adults have had Fifth's disease but may not remember it, as up to 20 percent of those infected don't develop symptoms.
Fifth's disease is another one of those viral diseases that resolves on its own. I like to refer to the treatment as "benign neglect," as there is nothing to do. The rash may take anywhere from 7-10 days to heal.
I do tell parents that the rash may seem to come and go for a few days and seem to be exacerbated by sunlight and heat. It's not uncommon to see a child come in from playing on a hot sunny day and the rash is more obvious on sun exposed areas. Occasionally, a child will complain of itching. You can use a soothing lotion such as Sarna or even Benadryl for relief. A cool shower or bath at the end of a summer day may work just as well.
Children who are immunocompromised, or who have sickle cell disease, leukemia, or cancer, may not handle the virus as well as other kids and should be seen by their pediatrician. But in most cases there's no need to worry about Fifth's disease.
Available at Amazon.com:
- Skin Rash Could Be Fifth's Disease
- When are Allergy Medications Appropriate for Kids?
- Cell Phones and Cancer: Get Your Hands Off That Phone!
- Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease Is Back
- The Apple Trick: On Not Tricking Kids into Eating Well
- Viruses Linger During End of School Year
- New Guidelines Aimed at Reducing Overdoses of OTC Medicines
- Earlier Bedtimes May Fend Off Teen Depression
- Teens and Headaches Seem To Go Together
- Medical History Key to Diagnosing Food Allergies
- No More Fever Phobia!
- Iron Deficiency Can Have Serious Consequences
- Pregnancy, Babies and Cats
- Spider Bite or MRSA
- Try These Tips To Control Indoor Allergens
- Steroid Sprays Effective Weapons Against Nasal Allergy Symptoms
- There's No Such Thing As a Sterile Waiting Room
- Allergy Season Has Arrived: Protect Your Kids As Spring Blows In
- Diagnosing Ear Infections Not Always Easy
- Screening Essential To Curb Sudden Cardiac Death in Young Athletes
- ADD Begins in Childhood But Can Continue Into Adulthood
- All About Tonsils
- Improving Children's Digestive Health
- Hand-washing 101: Kill Germs, Don't Spread Them
- Fever May Not Always Warrant a Trip to the Doctor
- Food Allergy or Food Intolerance?
- Your Day-by-day Flu Guide
- Wintertime Upper Respiratory Infection Sends Some Kids to the Hospital
- Stay-happy Tricks for Sick Kids
- Get Your Kids to Trade in Screen Time for Sleep
- Mono and Epstein Barr Virus: What You Need to Know
- Don't Forget Skincare and Sun Protection in Winter
- When to Worry About Stuttering
- Healthy Foods That Make Teeth Rot
- Make Sledding Safety a Priority
- New Research Offers Hope For Eczema Patients
- Why Sarah Palin Is Wrong About Michelle Obama's Weight Gain Fight
- New Iron Recommendations Issued For Children
- Get Smart About Antibiotics
- 8 Ways to Soothe a Sick Kid
- Is It Really That Icky?
- Are Germ-killing Products Harming Your Health?
- Is Cord Blood Banking Worth It?
- Child Born With Hip Dysplasia May Not Need Future Hip Replacement
- Why Vitamin D Is Important For Your Kids
- Safeguard Your Child's Digestive Health
- Goal of Treatment for Alpers' Disease is to Ease Symptoms
- Confusion Reigns Over Cough and Cold Medicines
- Children Can Have Migraine Headaches
- First They Came for My Twinkie ...
- Keeping Lunch Boxes Interesting and Healthy
- Kids Should Drink Milk, Even If It Is Chocolate
- Protect Your Child From Iron Deficiency
- Rare Muscle and Skin Disorder Can Be Difficult to Treat
- The Kid's Doctor: Kids and Choking Dangers
- Pertussis Cases Continue to Rise
- Alternative Treatments To Fight a Cold
- Contact Lenses Appropriate For Kids Old Enough to Handle the Responsibility
- Adverse Effects of Scoliosis Depend on Magnitude of the Curvature
- How to Make Sure Your Kids Eat Enough Vegetables
- Four Loko: Boozy Up-and-Down Makes This Loko Loco
- The Kid's Doctor: Young Athletes and Overuse Injuries
- The Kid's Doctor: Wart Treatments Vary
- Colic -- Although Stressful -- is Temporary
- Healthy Eating Guide to Cereal
- Supplements for High School Athletes: How to Make Smart Choices
- Why Sniffles Hit Hardest at Night
- Child With High Body Mass Index at Increased Risk of Health Problems
- Normal Weight Obesity - A Growing Concern
- Child's Height at Age 2 May Predict Adult Height
- A Parent's Guide to Coughs
- Team up With Schools to Fight Flu Season
- The Dangers of Diagnosing Online
- Family Dinners Help Fight Obesity
- Don't Take Hollywood's Advice on Treating Kids With Head Lice
- Determine Cause of Child's Lack of Growth Before Considering Hormones
- Teach Your Kids to Stress Less
- Common Food Allergies in Kids
- Healthy Lunches Your Kids Will Love Recipe
- Teens' Chronic Headaches Often Fade With Time
- Anxiety Before New School Year is Common for Many Children
- Childhood Obesity From a Holistic Perspective
- Whooping Cough Continues to Affect People of All Ages
- Keep Your Athletes Hydrated On and Off the Field
- Drink Up! Avoiding Dehydration
- How to Stop Your Baby's Wheezing and Prevent Asthma
- Fighting Drugs With the Power of Sleep
- Milk: When the First Food May Be the Best Food
- Introducing New Foods to Your Child
- Coping With Altitude Sickness
- Protecting the Future Health of Our Boys
- The Power of Persuasion: Food Marketing Really Does Work
- Fighting Childhood Obesity From a Holistic Perspective
- Congress Must Act Now to Alleviate Child Hunger
- Exercise for Kids: 5 Tips for Parents
- Too Much Screen Time for Kids Means Poorer Health
- Nutrition May Be Key to Helping Control ADHD
- Foods to Reduce Allergy and Asthma Symptoms in Kids
Copyright © 2011 KIDSDR.COM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.