5th Disease and Infant
Fifth disease can affect people of any age however it's more famously associated with children and infants, particularly around the ages of 5 to 15. This however, does not exclude the possibility that an infant or any child younger than 5 years to get the disease. 5th disease and infant issues are reported often. The most likely first sign of fifth disease a parent will encounter is the bright red cheeks. It will look rather like your baby has been slapped across the face and can be quite alarming. Some parents who have had children before encounter the disease much later in another infant and this can be quite distressing. It's important not to worry about this disease, by the time you have noticed the rash on your baby, the disease is no longer affecting their health.
Fifth disease has symptoms rather like the flu and these generally pass as soon as the tell tale rash appears. This is also a sign that the contagious period of the disease has ended so rather than worry about seeing the rash, try to relax as that means the worst of the disease is over and your child is recovering.
What is Fifth Disease?
Fifth disease is a simple viral infection caused by Parvovirus B19. This is not to be confused with the strain of Parvovirus that affects dogs. This virus cannot be transferred between humans and animals so you can't catch it.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of fifth disease for any age group are a slight fever, headache, and a sore throat and runny nose. It more often than not is passed off as a common cold or at worst, the flu. Children are more likely to develop the bright red rash symptom on the cheeks and this can move on to the body and arms. When the child has recovered from the disease the rash fades and looks web like across the body. It can return when the child is too warm or agitated but this is not a sign of the disease returning.
Should I go to the doctor?
Yes. Fifth disease is itself not a serious disease and your doctor will not really be able to do much about it. However, you should always see your doctor to rule out other possibilities of what is causing the symptoms. If your child has a blood disorder such as anemia you will also need to see your doctor as fifth disease can reduce red blood cell counts. It is always better to be safe then sorry especially where an infant is concerned.
How do I treat it?
Early on in the disease, usually before the rash symptoms appear your child may be uncomfortable and have a slight fever. You can treat these with Ibuprofen as per your doctor's guidelines or a little Tylenol just as you would treat a cold. There is no direct treatment for fifth disease, only its symptoms. Your child will be able to recover from fifth disease within a few weeks of contracting the virus.