Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Fifths Disease Overview

Another name for Fifths Disease is Erythema Infectiosum.

What is erythema infectiosum?
A child with erythema infectiosum has a red rash caused by a virus. The rash usually starts on the cheeks before spreading to the rest of the body. The rash usually resolves within 2 weeks. About 70 percent of erythema infectiosum occur in children between 5 and 15 years old. About 60 percent of adults have been infected with the virus during childhood.

What are the symptoms of erythema infectiosum?
Symptoms of erythema infectiosum include fever and a red rash that starts on the face and usually fades after 5 days. The rash may be lace-like and be triggered by sunlight, hot water, and stress. Other symptoms include cough, headache, itching, runny nose, sore throat, and joint pains.

How does the doctor treat erythema infectiosum?
Treatment for erythema infectiosum includes rest, encourage fluids, hydrocortisone cream for itching, oral antihistamines, and acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain and fever control.

Continue to Fifths Disease Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 8, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Fifths Disease References
  1. Gildea JH. Human parvovirus B19--flushed in face though healthy (fifth disease and more). Pediatr Nurs. 1998 Jul-Aug;24(4):325-9. [9849265]
  2. Mankuta D, Bar-Oz B, Koren G. Erythema infectiosum (Fifth disease) and pregnancy. Can Fam Physician. 1999 Mar;45:603-5. [10099795]
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