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Fifth's disease is caused by a virus. It often appears as a flu-like illness. Only rarely is it more serious.
Fifth's disease is most often found in elementary school children. Once your child gets fifth's disease, he most likely won't get it again.
Symptoms of fifth's disease are:
- low-grade fever
- face rash that looks like "slapped cheeks"
- a lacy rash on arms and legs that appears after the fever.
The symptoms appear between four and 14 days after your child is exposed to the virus. The virus is not spread after the rash appears.
Your child can spread fifth's disease if he coughs or sneezes. The germ travels through the air and is inhaled by a healthy child. Young children who play together most often spread the virus.
The best way to keep from spreading fifth's disease is to teach your child how to wash his hands well.
Antibiotics will not help treat fifth's disease. The virus will have to run its course.
When to call your health care provider
If you are pregnant, the risk to your unborn baby is slight. But, if you think you have fifth's disease, call your health care provider.