The Fifth Disease: What Parents Need to Know

The Fifth Disease, being among the manifestations of erythrovirus, shouldn’t be news to parents. Especially during the spring season which may have dry days, babies get infected by it. Despite it being a mild illness that may go away on its own, new moms still need to be aware that such a condition exists. Otherwise, they may dismiss their children’s rashes as ordinary allergies.

What Are the Other Names of The Fifth Disease?

Parents should know that The Fifth Disease is also referred to as the parvovirus B19 infection and erythema infectiosum as well as many other names in different countries. In Hungary, butterfly pox is the term for it; in the US, the slapped cheek syndrome; and in Japan, the ringo-byou or the apple sickness.

What Are the Symptoms of the Fifth Disease?


  • Cold
  • Headache
  • Low-grade fever
  • Sore throat
  • Swelling

A common sign of babies having The Fifth disease is the onset of a unique kind of rash. This spot, tending to be itchy, appears to be bright red as if the children have been slapped. Typically, it starts on the cheek then spreads to the chest, buttocks, legs, and feet. If it affects the soles of the feet, babies will respond to the discomfort by crying excessively.

How Is The Fifth Disease Transmitted?

Via respiratory secretions including mucus, saliva, and sputum, The Fifth Disease may spread easily. As those with weak systems are more prone to catching it, parents whose infants seem to be not in their best conditions are advised to let their little ones stay home. When sick babies cough or sneeze, there is a high chance of other children acquiring it. Once they have been infected by it, the babies become immune.

How Can The Fifth Disease Be Prevented?

Recommended measures:

  • Frequent washing of hands
  • Avoidance of contact with eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Use of a face mask
  • Sufficient rest during sick days

Only after 4-14 days will there be signs of babies having The Fifth Disease. The little ones may be resilient but it’s still best to observe tips for them to prevent getting the virus. If affected by this sort of rash, they may end up scratching their body parts until the itch is relieved without them conscious that the act will leave a scar.

How Is The Fifth Disease Treated?

The Fifth Disease should be treated like any other allergies, cold, or headache. In general, babies may just be allowed to be in a room with moderate temperature or sleep as long as preferred. If that doesn’t work, they may be handed mild relievers like acetaminophen, advil, and ibuprofen in small dosages (or as recommended by the doctor). One medication, however, that is suggested to not be given to babies is aspirin as this drug can have fatal effects.

The Fifth Disease versus the Fourth Disease

As the infected babies show a similar kind of redness in the cheeks, The Fifth Disease and The Fourth Disease, alternatively called Duke’s Disease, are often mistaken to be one and the same. However, other than the fact that they are caused by different viruses, parents should know that The Fifth Disease is accepted and is not thought of as a non-existent condition by medical communities.