ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

"Slapped Cheek Disease" - What Every Parent Should Know

Updated on March 15, 2012

There are several relatively common conditions every parent should know about in their children. Viral infections are common in children especially of the younger age group so it is definitely not surprising if your kids were to come down with a mild respiratory illness, a viral rash or for those who are unvaccinated; chicken pox and measles.

There is a condition call Fifth Disease/Erythema Infectiosum or "Slapped Cheek Disease" that occurs in young preschool and school-aged children from 4 - 10 years of age. It can also occur in adulthood.

The disease is caused by a virus called parvovirus B19. Most infections caused by this virus do not have any symptoms. Approximately six out of ten people in the population have had the virus by the time they are adults. It is not life threatening and complications are rare.

Child With "Slapped Cheek Disease" aka Fifth Disease
Child With "Slapped Cheek Disease" aka Fifth Disease

Disease Transmission

The disease is contagious and is spreaded by inhaling fluid droplets from an infected person or through touching these fluid droplets.

Signs and symptoms

The disease usually presents with very non specific symptoms which include fever, headache, stomach upsets, aches and pains. These symptoms can be quickly mistaken as the flu bug but in fact at this stage, the virus would have spreaded easily through saliva. Symptoms will take between 4 to 14 days after getting infected by the virus. The incubation period for this illness is. Fifth disease is no longer infectious once the rash appears.

The "slapped cheek appearance" takes about 3 to 7 days to appear. It usually presents as a bright red rash on the cheeks. ┬ĚThere may also be rash developing on the back, arms, chest and legs. The rash has a lacy appearance. It comes and goes for several weeks. It also re-appears after a bath, exercise or exposure to sunlight.

Older children and adults may get swollen joints (arthritis) which get better after a few days.


  1. Most people get Fifth Disease as a child and become immune as adults and won't get it again. In most children,
  2. Pregnant women (previously uninfected with Fifth Disease) who become infected or come in contact with Fifth Disease will pose a severe threat to the unborn baby. it can cause severe anaemia in the unborn child. If that happens, they must see their doctor for blood tests and monitoring of their pregnancy.
  3. Children with some haematological conditions like leukaemia, sickle cell anaemia or thalassaemia can get serious problems such as anaemia with Fifth Disease. Therefore, they must not come in contact with children with Fifth Disease

Treatment and Management

Children who are infected with the virus will not need specific treatment for it. What they need is adequate rest, paracetamol for fever and time off from school. Antibiotics will not cure your child of "Slapped Cheek Disease " or Fifth Disease.

Tips To Remember

  1. Inform your family doctor if your child has sickle cell anaemia or severe anaemia and develops Fifth Disease (low level of red blood cells in the blood).
  2. If your child is on long term steroids or is immune-compromised, you must also inform your family doctor
  3. If you are pregnant and exposed to someone with slapped cheek, get yourself tested with the human parvovirus B19a parvovirus IgG serology test. Remember the person with slapped cheek disease is infectious two weeks before the rash appears. If you have already had human parvovirus B19 then there are no concerns for your unborn baby. If you have not, your unborn baby can get a type of anaemia (low level of red blood cells in the blood).

Fifth Disease in Adults


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)