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  • Select from over 100 symptoms to read more about managing your child's illness.

    Is Your Child Sick? TM


    Fifth Disease

    Is this your child's symptom?

    • Viral rash that starts with red cheeks and spreads to the shoulders

    If NOT, try one of these:


    Symptoms of Fifth Disease

    • Bright red cheeks on both sides for 1 to 3 days. Looks like "slapped cheeks".
    • Followed by pink "lace-like" (net-like) rash of arms and legs.
    • "Lacy" rash mainly is on thighs and upper arms/shoulders.
    • Rash also is on chest and stomach in 50% of children.
    • The rash does not itch or hurt.
    • No fever or low-grade one less than 102° F (39° C).
    • Peak age: 4 -12 years.

    Cause of Fifth Disease

    • It is caused by the human parvovirus B19.
    • Not related to the dog parvovirus.

    Prevent Spread to Others

    • Good hand washing can prevent spread of this illness.
    • Once the rash occurs, the child can no longer spread the virus.

    When to Call for Fifth Disease

    When to Call for Fifth Disease

    Call 911 Now

    • You think your child has a life-threatening emergency

    Call Doctor or Seek Care Now

    • Only 1 cheek is red and also has fever
    • Your child looks or acts very sick
    • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

    Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

    • Fever over 102° F (39° C)
    • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

    Call Doctor During Office Hours

    • Sore throat lasts more than 48 hours
    • Mother or other caregiver is pregnant
    • You have other questions or concerns

    Self Care at Home

    • Fifth disease suspected

    Call 911 Now

    • You think your child has a life-threatening emergency

    Call Doctor or Seek Care Now

    • Only 1 cheek is red and also has fever
    • Your child looks or acts very sick
    • You think your child needs to be seen, and the problem is urgent

    Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

    • Fever over 102° F (39° C)
    • You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent

    Call Doctor During Office Hours

    • Sore throat lasts more than 48 hours
    • Mother or other caregiver is pregnant
    • You have other questions or concerns

    Self Care at Home

    • Fifth disease suspected

    Care Advice for Fifth Disease

    1. What You Should Know About Fifth Disease:
      • It is a viral rash that is harmless.
      • It does not itch or hurt.
      • It can be treated at home.
      • Here is some care advice that should help.
    2. Fever Medicine:
      • For fevers above 102° F (39° C), give an acetaminophen product (such as Tylenol).
      • Another choice is an ibuprofen product (such as Advil).
      • Note: Fevers less than 102° F (39° C) are important for fighting infections.
      • For all fevers: Keep your child well hydrated. Give lots of cold fluids.
    3. Pregnant Women - Special Risk:
      • The risk of Fifth disease is to the unborn babies of pregnant women. It is not harmful to the woman herself.
      • A pregnant woman should see her doctor if she is exposed.
      • He will do a test to see if the mother has had the disease. If she has, she is protected.
      • If not, the pregnancy will need to be watched closely. Some babies that get it before birth can have problems. Ten percent can have a very low red blood cell count and 2% may die.
      • But, birth defects are never a result of this virus.
    4. What to Expect:
      • The lace-like rash can come and go for 1 to 3 weeks.
    5. Return to School:
      • Once your child has the "slapped cheeks", they can no longer spread the illness. Also, the lacy rash cannot be spread to others either.
      • Your child does not need to stay home from child care or school.
      • It can be spread during the week before the rash begins.
      • Exposed children should try not to have any contact with pregnant women. This may be hard to know ahead of time.
    6. Call Your Doctor If:
      • Fever above 102° F (39° C) occurs
      • You think your child needs to be seen
      • Your child becomes worse

    And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

    Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.

    Copyright 2000-2019 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC.

    Fifth Disease

    There is redness and puffiness of both cheeks; this is the first sign of Fifth's Disease.