Saturday, 6 January 2018

Treatments And Diagnosis For Fifth Disease (Erythema Infectiosum)



Fifth disease is a mild illness caused by a virus called human parvovirus B19. The medical name for fifth disease is erythema infectiosum (EI). This infection occurs primarily during winter and spring, most commonly in children between 5-14 years of age. Initially, fifth disease causes an erythematous (reddish) rash on the child's face appearing as though the child had been slapped on both cheeks. Sometimes in North America, the disease has been referred to as "slapped cheek syndrome" or simply "slapcheek." The characteristic appearance of the rash gave rise to the names "apple sickness" (or ringo-byou) in Japan and "butterfly pox" in Hungary (since the cheeks resemble the wings of a butterfly).
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Cases of fifth disease can occur either sporadically or as part of community outbreaks. Outbreaks occur mainly in elementary schools during the spring. Half of the cases occur from spread of the virus to others in the patient's household. Transmission of the infection in schools is less common. At least half of North-American adults have been infected by parvovirus B19 and are unlikely to be reinfected. About 10% or fewer of young children are immune.

Fifth disease got its name many years ago when it was the fifth on a list of the six recognized childhood rash -forming illnesses; the others include rubella, measles, scarlet fever , chickenpox, and roseola infantum. It also is called slapped-cheek disease because of the characteristic initial appearance in children. Often, doctors can make the diagnosis just by looking at your skin rash. Your doctor may test you for specific antibodies if you’re likely to face serious consequences from fifth disease. This is especially the case if you’re pregnant or if you have a compromised immune system.


Treatments For Fifth Disease
For most healthy people, no treatment is necessary. If your joints hurt or you have a headache or fever, you may be advised to take acetaminophen (Tylenol) as needed to relieve these symptoms. Otherwise, you’ll need to wait for your body to fight off the virus, which usually takes one to three weeks.
You can help the process along by drinking a lot of fluids and getting extra rest. Children can often return to school once the red rash appears since they’re no longer contagious.

People with this illness are contagious before the onset of symptoms and are probably not contagious after they develop the rash. The incubation period (the time from acquiring the infection to the development of symptoms) usually lasts between four and 21 days.

Similar to most viral illnesses, the best way to prevent the spread of the disease is by proper hand washing, by covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough , and by staying home when you become sick.


Author: Richard Smith