Fifth Disease: Understanding the Cause, Symptoms and Treatment

Fifth Disease is one of the most frightening illnesses for a parent to view in a child. For most parents, the disease is frightening due to lack of knowledge on the origin, cause, symptoms and treatment. As a non-fatal condition, educating parents in the disease will work to prevent anxiety and allow children to become well naturally.

Most often affecting children ages five to 15 years of age, Parvovirus B19 is the basis for the outbreak of Fifth Disease. Blood tests can confirm infection, however in most patients, the symptoms are mild or non-existent. Outbreaks are common in late winter and early spring with the virus affecting adults in 40 to 90 percent of the cases.

Symptoms of Fifth Disease include a red rash along the face which may itch and last for up to three weeks. The rash is the body’s immune system reaction to the virus and can spread to the trunk, arms and legs but rarely impact the soles of the feet nor the palms of the hands. It is also not uncommon for a patient to suffer from swollen glands, red eyes, sore throat, diarrhea, headache, fever, mild cold-like symptoms however, upon outbreak of the rash, the virus is no longer contagious.

There are no specific treatment plans for Fifth Disease. As stated earlier, once the rash is present, the disease is no longer contagious. Because the disease is not fatal, and rarely results in complications, treatment options have not been developed. To prevent prolonged symptoms, medical practitioners recommend avoiding peaks in stress levels, avoid heat, exercise and sunlight. It is important, however, for individuals who suffer from arthritis, blood disorders or women who are pregnant should contact their physicians immediately for monitoring of symptoms as Fifth Disease may have a contraindicative affect.

The key to sustaining Fifth Disease, it so reduce environments which impact the prolonged symptoms. Other than mild symptoms, a full cure should appear within three weeks.

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