Fifth's Disease in Toddlers

I am not a doctor, and this article is not designed to help you diagnose a sick child. Use this information to help you after a doctor diagnoses your child with Fifth's Disease.

Fifth's Disease sounds so scary and intense, but it's just another fancy name for a virus that just needs to run it's course. At first though, an accurate diagnosing can be a little tricky since it creeps up like a common cold.  

coldfeverredcheeks

Ava is 2.5 years old now, and I swear she catches everything and anything possible from daycare. There have been months at a time where several different sicknesses ran through my entire household, over and over. For this occurrence though I'm not sure if it started with my 6 month old or not.  On Monday, Ava's school called and said she was coughing a lot and couldn't nap since her cough would worsen laying down, plus she ate none of her lunch. I picked her up early and although she was in good spirits, you could tell she was feeling pretty crappy. By that night she got a low grade fever, and was in full "snot and cough" mode. 

Symptoms Day 1-3

Her initial symptoms were: 

  • coughing
  • congestion and booger sleeves like crazy
  • constant mild fever  
  • lack of appetite  & stomach ache
  • extreme fussing 

This continued for two days, then it seemed as if she was on the mend. Her appetite came back Wednesday night and her snot machine had slowed way down. I had the plan to send her back to school Thursday morning so I could get a break from two sick girls (my 6 month old had vaccines Wednesday and got a fever that evening). 

Treatment for Symptoms

Since the common cold doesn't require a doctor visit or special medicines, we treated Ava's fever by alternating Tylenol and Ibuprofen since her fevers were returning about every 4-5 hours. At night, we gave her children's Benadryl to help her sleep, but it also helped with the drainage that was making her cough all night.  

Signs of  "Slapped-Cheeks"

Thursday morning arrived and Ava woke up grumpy and really whiny. I was feeding Marlowe when Ava woke, so her dad took her downstairs to eat breakfast with him. She worked him well and was so whiny he said she should stay home again because he felt she was still sick. Fine.... I agreed but gave her a dose of Tylenol and told him she would be fine at school but I'd keep her home again. And she was fine for pretty much the whole day. So new plan: send her to school on Friday! We did that since Friday morning came and she was acting fine. Still some snot and coughing, but fever free since Wednesday and she was eating more.  

I spent the day with Marlowe and got the call around 330p from school saying Ava was crying all day and didn't eat. No fever so they didn't call sooner or send her home. Her dad picked her up on his way home and she looked ROUGH, like she was super sick all over again. I was puzzled since she was seemingly fine for the last 36 hours. Over the next hour at home, I started noticing her cheeks turning red. It was the weirdest thing, it looked like she got windburned from a cold wind, or that someone gave both cheeks a good slapping. I decided at that point to run her to the urgent care because she also said her ear was hurting, so I thought her drainage turned into an ear infection.  

Red cheeks that appeared over a few hours.

Red cheeks that appeared over a few hours.

 Diagnosis 

Whike we were sitting in the lobby, her cheeks got even more red. I've never experienced this before with her, but I had to get up and mention it to the staff that this was a relatively new symptom that I didn't mention at check in.  The doctor checked her out after me explaining her symptoms; her ears looked fine and he said he believed it to be Fifth's Disease caused by Parvovirus B19, especially due to her red cheeks and other symptoms and their timelines, meaning it's just another fancy name for a virus that needed to just run its course.  

In adults, the symptoms are like a mild cold as well, but two days later I am showing the signs of sickness and mine includes: 

  • cold symptoms 
  • headache
  • aches

By the time the time you show signs of "slapped cheeks" you are no longer contagious, go figure! Make sure you visit your doctor if you have any concerns, never use online readings to make a diagnosis on your own as it could be something else that requires medical prevention. I hope this helps you in some way to understand the experience you may be having or may see in the future!

Do you have any experiences to share about your toddler and Fifth's Disease? Please comment below! 

Happy Recovering! 

Mindy Sullivan