NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s the season of sickness, and one virus that’s making the rounds is fairly common among children. It’s called Fifth Disease.
“I’m not overly concerned usually when my kids are sick, so for me to take him to the doctor was kind of a big deal,” Shellie Eldredge said when talking about her 5-year-old son Charlie. She felt she needed to have him checked out when he developed a rasha and the typical medicines weren’t helping.
“He had a slight runny nose maybe a week or two before,” she said.
A runny nose, along with the rash, are both symptoms of Fifth Disease.
“The first symptoms will usually be common cold type symptoms and maybe some fever,” explained Dr. Justin Smith, a pediatrician with Cook Children’s. He told CBS 11 News the illness is actually very common. It can start with a cough, runny nose or even a fever, but the hallmark symptom is a rash that develops as the virus runs its course.
“The rash usually starts with bright red spots on both cheeks,” Dr. Smith said. He said parents don’t need to be concerned. The symptoms are usually mild, and and there’s no treatment other than some Benedryl or Zyrtec to help with any itching.
Smith said the biggest concern is really for pregnant women.
“It can cause a specific problem in the unborn baby that can cause them to have problems with their red blood cells.”
Smith said if your child was recently ill and been around someone who’s pregnant, you need to let that person know.
Once children develop the rash, Smith said they are no longer contagious.
And for those curious about the name, Smith said it was developed several years ago when the illness was fifth on a list of the six recognized childhood rash-forming illnesses.