Thursday, June 28, 2007
Fifth disease or "slapped cheek disease"
I took Hendrik to the doctor this afternoon. Apparently he has Fifth Disease or erythema infectiosum caused by human parvovirus B19. It causes a high fever for a day or two with an accompanying rash on the face that looks like slapped cheeks. Hence, the disease's nickname.
The "Fifth" part of the name comes from it being 5th on a list of 6 common childhood illness characterized by rashes. All of the others have dropped their numerical assignment except for this one. First Disease - Measles, Second Disease - scarlet fever, Third Disease - rubella, Fourth Disease - chicken pox, Fifth Disease - erythema infectiosum, and Sixth Disease - roseola infantum for those of you who are curious. ;)
It is very common and thankfully, not serious, and only requires the usual home treatments of rest, fluids, and pain relivers.

For me however, it is a different story. There is some concern for pregnant women as it can cause anemia in the fetus or miscarriage or other complications. The instances of this are rare but still possible. The doctor sent me for bloodwork right away to test and see if I am currently infected (the rash does not always appear in adults) or have previously had Fifth Disease as a child. We should find out next week. I have decided not to worry about it. I could worry but it wouldn't be helpful and wouldn't change anything except make me unpleasant to be around. ;)

posted at 4:34 PM  
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