Fifth Disease Symptoms

Fifth disease is not generally a serious condition. There is no cure for fifth disease but it can be treated with bed rest and drinking plenty of fluids just like a cold or the flu. In some cases, complications may occur. A child who contracts fifth disease and who also has symptoms of anemia will need to be seen by a doctor as soon as possible. This is because fifth disease lowers red blood cell production, and although this isn't noticeable in healthy children, it may have a severe effect on an already low red blood cell count in anemic children. Pay attention to your fifth disease symptoms and seek medical attention.

Initial fifth disease symptoms are similar to that of Influenza and it's often thought to pass by un-noticed in most people because of this. It is more common for children to display further signs of the tell tale "slapped face" rash that dominates diagnoses of this disease.

It's thought around 50% of adults have contracted fifth disease at some point in their lives which is contrary to our memory of childhood illnesses. This supports the idea that most people who contract fifth disease are not aware of it as anything more than flu, and display no outward signs of fifth disease.

Symptoms Include:

Headaches
Joint Pain
Temperature Increase
Runny Nose
Sore Throat
Mild Physical Weakness
Rash or redness on the cheek


Headaches and joint pain can be treated with Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen. It is more likely that adults will suffer headaches, joint pain and fever whilst suffering from fifth disease. Children tend to display cold like symptoms and the rash.

You can easily determine the rash from other diseases as it appears to be more like the child has been slapped across the face. It's usually a bright redness which after a while can travel around the body. When the rash starts to fade it takes on a laced appearance like a spider web. The rash can spread to the whole of the body only sparing the soles of the feet and palms of the hands. In cases where older children or adults have fifth disease, symptoms can include itchiness of the rash.

After recovery from fifth disease it's still possible for the rash to reoccur. It does not mean that the person is suffering from a second bout of fifth disease or that they did not recover. Certain things can reactivate the intensity of the rash, making it visible once more. These include sunlight, heat, exercise and stress.

There are several other fifth disease symptoms that may develop in rare cases such as swollen glands, red eyes, diarrhea and rashes that look like bruising or blisters.


For any rash that you notice on yourself or your children, consult your doctor immediately. Fifth disease is not the only condition where a rash is the symptom and it is safer to allow your doctor to diagnose the condition just in case. If your child displays any of the fifth disease symptoms you should consult your doctor. It is not recommended to self diagnose.