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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Have you ever heard of Slapped Cheek Disease?

It’s also known as Fifth Disease, and apparently we’ve got it. By “we” I guess I mean little Ree. She looked odd to me yesterday morning, and by afternoon was starting to have red cheeks that I kept an eye on. At dinner that evening I kept pointing out her cheeks to TubaDad, and he said she probably had a sunburn. Ha! Not on my watch.

Anyhow, I remembered hearing something about Slapped Cheeks once and Googled it so I had all the info, then when Ree woke up this morning I knew for sure. A quick call to the pediatrician’s office, and they confirmed the “Mama and Dr Google” diagnosis and said we don’t need to come in to the office, just keep an eye on things. Here’s the scoop and a few pictures so you know what it is if your kiddos get it:

- Slapped Cheek Disease (or Fifth Disease) generally occurs in children between 4-10 years old. Most adults have already been exposed and are generally immune (but if you’re pregnant or have a compromised immune system, you should alert your doctor that someone in your family has it).

- One to two weeks after being infected with the virus, the child develops a low-grade fever, a week later the child gets a bright red rash on the cheeks, then about 3-4 days later the child might develop a red lacey rash on the rest of the body. The rash can last 5-7 days and sometimes comes back and goes away for up to three weeks.

- It’s contagious up until the red cheeks/rash show up (so Ro has already been exposed and might get it, ugh, what else is new in twinland?)

- It’s mild and harmless in most cases. Any low fevers or achiness (Ree has neither, actually it doesn’t seem to be bothering her at all) can be treated with acetaminophen.

Here’s what it looked like today. See what I mean about there being no question?:DSC_7110LRa

And here’s a shot of the two girls together so you can see what her face normally looks like:DSC_7119LRa

Can’t resist mentioning the cute little PJs, even though this is really a post about a lame disease. Heh. They’re on sale at Carter’s and Kohl’s right now:DSC_7128LRa DSC_7140LRa

Hope this helps! If your sweetie turns up with oddly red cheeks, ask your pediatrician about Slapped Cheek Disease and don’t freak out.


  1. kohl's-- my home away from home:)

  2. Both my kids had this when they were little. The rash is scary looking for us parents but generally does not itch or bother the kids.

    Hope she gets well soon and that her twin does not get it!

  3. At my school, the nurse always warns pregnant women about cases of Fifths Disease...whereas adults are immune, I think it's dangerous for fetuses.

    And "slapped cheeks" or not, the girls are darling!

  4. Emme got it when we were home about 4 months. It was the one time she was really out of it, as fevers can run high.

  5. Aw, poor baby. I wasn't familiar with this at all, but easily see what you mean when you put Ree and Ro against each other. By the way, that one closeup looks like mirror images, with the exception of Ro has fuller lips; regardless of rosy cheeks, the girls just could not be any more ridiculously CUTE! Hope Ree gets better quickly!

  6. I'm trying to figure out how one got it and one didn't?


    You always find the very cute pj's!

  7. Anonymous7/21/2010

    What causes the disease?

  8. Kelley: You're right, the pediatrician did ask if I could be pregnant, I'll add that note to the post.

    Colin and Jill: Seems to happen all the time now! Crazy. When the girls were little and shared sippies, toothbrushes, anything that wasn't nailed down, it was a given that one got sick and the other did too. Now they only seem to share illnesses about half the time, which is nice!

    Anon: It's a virus, and they say it's passed around via droplets (not to be gross, sorry). Sneezing, sharing cups, blowing noses and not washing hands, that kind of stuff.

  9. Since they didn't necessarily have the exact same exposure, they wouldn't have to get it together. Even if they were exposed at the same time in the same amount, children don't always respond the same. Two of mine were exposed to chicken pox at the same time in the same way and only one got sick. The second got the poxies from her sister. Go figure... It's the way of illness and children! :)

  10. It's called 5th disease because it's the 5th most prominent childhood illness/rash after the first 4 main ones. Measles, scarlet fever, rubella and one other rash that they can't name- and they call it "4th disease"! :)

    Fifth disease (also called erythema infectiosum) is caused by parvovirus B19.

    Snick :)

  11. My friend's daughter (Caroline's China "sister") also has that. Caroline was probably exposed to it...sigh.

    Thanks for the comment on my blog!

  12. so glad she isn't feeling sick!

  13. We had it in our house when we were kids... cant remember who had it!

    Poor little thing! Wishing you well!

  14. Anonymous7/21/2010

    My brother and I had this when we were little living in England. I haven't heard of it since (this was well over 20 years ago).

  15. Anonymous7/21/2010

    I am not used to seeing such seriously little faces on your girls!!! I hope Ree gets through it with flying colors and that they are back to their smilings selves again. They are looking so grown up!

  16. Poor Ree - I knmow it looks worse than she probably feels. My Dahlia had it and I had never heard of it before that. (Don't think we had that term when we were growing up.)

    Hope Ro doesn't show any symptoms.

    Oh, the PJ's? Sweet!

  17. Sorry little pink faced gal! We hope you get better soon! We have had the slap cheek thing around here too. I think it was my oldest that had it. I kinda think it is a funny little virus, with a pretty cool name!

    I think you guys have had enough sickness for a bit. Lets take a break from it okay?!

  18. I've had several students with that before. I had never heard of it until just a few years ago though. If I remember correctly, it is pretty contagious. Students were always sent home and couldn't return to school until it cleared up, and we had to send home a school-wide notice so all parents would know their child had been exposed. Good thing it's summer vacation!

  19. Anonymous7/21/2010

    i wonder if hannah was exposed too

  20. Adults can get Fifths and it can be much worse for them than for children. I contracted the Parvo virus from my children, all three had it. While their symptoms were not serious, it was a nightmare for me. I developed arthritic like symptoms, fever, and was very sick. The joint pain lasted for months. I know it was Fifths because it was confirmed through a blood test and the doctor didn't even know that Fifths had made its run through our home. It was amazing that he tested me for it. Just an FYI, for parents!

  21. M3,

    I got a call from my daughter's school about three week's ago to let me know that they thought she had Fifth's Disease. Of course I said "Huh?" and immediately ran to the internet and then called the doctor only to find out the same thing that you did.

    By the time anyone noticed anything (which was just the tell-tale red cheeks) she was no longer contagious. So I did exactly what you're doing. Fortunately it did not bother her one bit - she didn't even notice.

    Hopefully she won't even notice either and hopefully her twin won't get it.

  22. I got 5ts from my kids. Most adults are immune from having it as a child. I was not one of them. In adults it can cause severe joint paint and swelling. Yep. I can check that off my list.

    It can cause miscarriage in PG women, if you have been around any women in their first trimester they will need to advise their doctor of their exposure.

  23. One of my rugrats has that right now, which of course means the rest might get it! Luv the PJs!

  24. Such an old school name - like, what is that other one? Hoof to Mouth disease...or somethg? Glad lil Ree is gonna be ok!

  25. Oh the 5th disease. When I worked at a pediatric allergist office I was fabulous at this diagnosis and determining asthma vs croup.

    Hope you get rid of the beast soon.

    Cute jammies. might have to go find for my niece

  26. Carmelle sitting on my lap when I pulled this site up and she said, "Does are my friends. Does are my friends that I like." :) :) :) Love you guys!

  27. Anonymous7/22/2010

    I love Carter's PJs they are so cute and comfy. THey have some really cute non-PJ clothes too. Cute girlies, slapped cheeks and all.

  28. LiLi had that a few years ago. If there is something to be gotten, she'll get it. Good thing I worked at a pre-school for a few years so I knew what it was.

    It will pass. That this time to just relax and have a little TLC.

    By the way, red cheeks or not, they are both too cute for words.


  29. I used to teach pre-school, I've raised a child, and I never heard of it. Wow... good to know.... Hope Ree has only the mildest case, and she gets better in no time. And hope Ro doesn't get it at all.


  30. Most of my kids had this already. It's not really a big deal, but it is contagious. It's not as bad as "Hand, foot and mouth disease", which some of my cousins decided to bring to a family reunion. Which meant my kids had to stay home. Blah.

  31. Kristina7/22/2010

    Hope Ree is feeling better!!! Poor girl! Sending her HUGS and wishes for no sharing it with Ro! :)

  32. Heh - I had Fifth's disease 6 years ago - at the age of 32. It was not fun - I had badly aching joints for a couple of days after the rash went away.

  33. Adorable pj's!

    We had this go through my sister's familiy and her 6 kids 2 summers ago. I remember it well as my SIL was pregnant at the time so changed her plans about attending a family reunion just in case someone was a carrier at the time.

    Poor little Ree has had a rough couple of weeks! Wonder if she got it when her immune system was down with the flu? Poor lamb!

    Glad to hear it's not bothering her. What a trooper!

    Praying Ro doesn't get it too. Ya just don't need that even in the land of twindom.

  34. Hey friend. Just read through the comments and noticed one of your kind readers thought about Hannah. So far so good but if she does get it we'll take it one day at a time just like you. We wouldn't trade our time with you for anything!! Love, love, love spending time with all of you and we miss you already! xoxo

  35. Anonymous7/25/2010

    When I was pregnant with my first child and teaching kindergarten, one of my students got 5th Disease. Her mom originally thought it was an allergic reaction to the antibiotic she was on for strep throat, so she sent her to school. I spent the day loving on this little one who felt very self-conscious about her rash only to find out at day's end that it was 5th Disease and could be very dangerous (even fatal) for my unborn child. Thankfully this mom knew I was pregnant as I hadn't told many and knew how dangerous it could be for a pregnant woman for I had never heard of it. I had to stay out of school for a week to allow it to clear the contagious stage in my classroom, as it turned out I was not immune. It can cause severe fetal anemia and is most dangerous in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. It is nothing to mess around with if you're pregnant.