Some doctors say fifth disease on the rise

Some doctors say fifth disease on the rise

TYLER (KYTX) - Have you ever seen a rash covering your child's cheeks that looks like they've been slapped?

It's a virus called 'slapped cheek syndrome,' fifth disease.

Some doctors are seeing more cases in East Texas.

Fifths disease is a lot like many other viruses.

There's no medication that can make it go away, it just takes time.

A letter was sent home to parents at a school in Tyler this week.

We weren't even sure what it was, so we asked doctors.

Melissa Garrett was concerned the first time Hailey popped up with a red rash covering her cheeks.

"She had it twice this year, once in December and another time in February," says Garrett.

Garrett says the rash spread, and became painful.

"She itched so badly and was so hot," says Garrett.

But that was after she was contagious.

Doctor Holly Blanco with Trinity Clinics says they see more cases typically in the spring and fall.

"It can start off with some fever, maybe some muscle aches, headache, fatigue. About a week later, get a rash on the face," says Dr. Blanco.

She says it is contagious, but it's not a huge concern.

"Pretty benign, unless you're a pregnant woman or have a chronic medical condition, such as sickle cell disease," says Dr. Blanco.

She says the worst part is just the scare parents get from the rash on the face.

"It can startle parents, but it's benign. It's not harmful for them," says Dr. Blanco.

Garrett says her doctor was concerned about the number of patients he'd seen with the virus.

"He's saying they're seeing more episodes of fifths disease than they have in years. He said a lot of schools around east Texas have had an outbreak of them and when I called the school they said a couple kids in the first grade had it," says Garrett.

A virus, that will pass with time.

With a rash, Garrett says, for parents to know will spread, but they shouldn't worry.

"Don't panic," says Garrett.

The rash may last a few days, and can spread to the body, arms, torso and legs.

Dr. Blanco says just to give it time, some Tylenol and it will go away on it's own.

According to NETHealth, fifth disease isn't a reportable virus, so there are no numbers on how many people in East Texas have it.

The virus derives it's name from being the fifth in a list of classic childhood skin rashes, like measles and scarlet fever.


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