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Fifth Disease Rash

Picture of fifth disease (erythema infectiosum) rash on face and arm

Illustration copyright 2000 by Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. http://www.nucleusinc.com

Fifth disease (erythema infectiosum) is sometimes called "slapped-cheek disease" because of the rash that some people get on the face.

If a rash appears, usually it has two or three distinct stages:

  1. A bright red rash occurs on the sides of the face and sometimes on the forehead and chin. This rash usually is gone within 5 days.
  2. Another rash appears on the neck, trunk, forearms, upper legs, and buttocks. This rash starts as round red spots and begins to take on a lacy look. It can be itchy, especially in older children. This second stage lasts a week or less.
  3. After the body rash fades, it may come back if the person is out in the sun, gets too warm, or is under stress. This rash lasts 1 to 3 weeks. Even though a rash comes back, it does not mean the illness is worse.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
Last Revised May 29, 2012

Last Revised: May 29, 2012

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics

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