Saturday, October 30, 2010

All about fifth disease

You pick up your child from daycare and check their backpack as you do every day. Inside you find a note that says "a child in your child's class has been diagnosed with fifth diease". What do you do? Do you panic? Fear not and read on..

Fifth disease is also called erythema infectiosum. It is caused by a virus called parvovirus 19. It starts out with vague symptoms such as fever, runny nose, diarrhea, headache, nausea. A few days later a rash appears. This is a classic rash that has a "slapped cheek" appearance. By the time the rash appears, the other symptoms have usually gone away and the child is better.

Fifth disease is usually a benign illness and kids recover just fine. It is common among school age children and tends to spread through classrooms. Your child needs rest, fluids, fever management and time to recover.

Fifth disease is a relatively minor illness to most people but when contracted during pregnancy it can cause serious fetal harm including fetal death. If you are pregnant and think you may have been exposed to fifth disease it is very important to see your OB provider as soon as possible to determine if you are immune to parvovirus.

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