Recognizing fifths disease

November 12, 2012

Recognizing fifths disease

Fifths disease is considered common and tends to effect children. It is also sometimes known as hand, foot and mouth disease.


Fifths disease is a highly contagious disease that affects children. It is known more commonly as hand, foot and mouth disease. The initial and often distinguishing symptom is flushed cheeks that have dubbed slapped cheek, as this is the appearance that the cheeks take on. In some cases there are also some stomach related symptoms that accompany it. The condition does not produce a fever and often last for only a few days. As there is no associated fever, the department for health has stated that there is no need to keep children who are infected off from school. It is for this reason that there are regular outbursts of the disease as children who are infected continue to come into contact with other children. If the symptoms stated above were the only symptoms of fifths disease then the situation wouldn’t be too bad. The problem is when the disease infects a child who is anemic, an infant or an adult.

Symptoms of fifths disease


Although adults rarely have the flushed cheeks that children get, they tend to suffer from different symptoms. The primary one is painful joints. The pain can be very severe and tends to start in one joint before spreading to others. This pain is not as quickly relieved as the symptoms are in children. Typically painful and achy joints will last for around a month but it can remain for as long as 6 months. Whist adults don’t have to deal with the symptoms of a flushed face and stomach issues, this joint pain that they have to suffer with lasts for much longer and is much more severe.


Infants probably suffer the worst from fifths disease. The condition can easily develop into scarlet fever in babies and toddlers. It is able to develop so quickly because both conditions are strep-based. If the condition does turn into scarlet fever, the illness will have to be treated with antibiotics. The symptoms of scarlet fever include a very high temperature and irritable rash. At this stage the child should remain in isolation at least until the symptoms have eased.

Fifths disease varies in severity from case to case and depends largely on the age of the person that gets infected. Whilst in some it is a condition that is nothing to worry about, it should be monitored carefully to ensure that it doesn’t progress into something worse.

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