Fifth disease will result in your child having red spots all over their body. These can merge to form a larger area. Adults can sometimes also contract the disease, but this will then manifest differently. The disease is caused by the Parvo B19 virus and is contagious. For example, it can be transferred to another person by coughing or talking. That’s because droplets are released during coughing and talking, which another person then inhales. It takes two weeks for spots to appear after contamination. The disease is no longer contagious once these become visible. You or your child can transmit the disease during the week before the spots become visible. You won't notice this and someone else will often already have become infected. This disease mainly manifests itself during the spring or summer season.
Fifth disease in adults manifests itself in pain in the hands and feet. It’s quite striking that adults get few or no spots.
A child with fifth disease may suffer from the following symptoms:
- A fever.
- Spotty and red cheeks. The spots are pinkish-red in colour.
- A rash all over the torso.
- A rash on the buttocks.
- A rash on the arms and legs.
There’s little you can do about fifth disease yourself. The disease will go away on its own and you can’t protect yourself or your child against it. You can buy an ointment against the itching from the chemist or pharmacy. Obtain advice regarding the right ointment.
In most cases, you won’t need to contact your GP if you or your child has fifth disease. Plus you can never get it again once you’ve had it. We would recommend contacting your GP in a few cases:
- You’re pregnant and one of your other household members or someone close to you has fifth disease.
- Your child is younger than 3 months old.
- Your child is becoming more unwell. For example, the fever may increase, your child may become drowsy or develop a grey skin colour.