Patient Comments: Fifth Disease - Describe Your Experience

Please describe your experience with fifth disease.

Comment from: momoftwo, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 15

My daughter came down with a fever and rash two weeks ago. The pediatrician didn't know what it was and ran a CBC, which showed low white and platelet counts typical of a viral infection. They wanted to admit her, but my husband (an MD) thought we should wait and watch. Two days later, I woke up feeling like I'd been in a car accident; I was sore all over. As the day progressed, I had fevers and generally felt as if I were coming down with a flu. Another few days went by like this, and a week ago, my daughter came home with a note from a school nurse saying several kids had "fifth disease." Only then did the penny drop that I might have it too. For days now, I have had excruciating pain in my right hand, especially my ring and middle fingers. It keeps me up at night. Nothing helps. My doctor prescribed Tylenol with codeine, which calms it a little.

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Comment from: garysnum1girl, 7-12 Female (Caregiver) Published: June 02

My 17 year old daughter had a rash on her low back, knees and feet accompanied by joint pain. She had no fever. A few days later her 11 year old sister got red, swollen, burning hands that we assumed was some kind of allergic reaction. We went to the doctor a couple of days later when the burning had not subsided and she had also developed a low-grade fever. Diagnosis was contact dermatitis with a coincidental unknown virus. The next day, she started with a rash on arms, knees and one spot on back which spread down her sides by evening. By the next morning, it was an all over petechial rash, which just means the rash doesn't lighten in color when you press on it. Her hands were still burning and itching intensely, and did blanch when we pressed on them. I took her back to the doctor who sent her immediately for blood tests. They admitted her for possible parvovirus or Rocky Mt. Spotted Fever. They said with RMSF she would be very sick, as well, and would probably have bad headaches. Blood tests came out positive for parvovirus (Fifths Disease).

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Comment from: Catsvillage, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 26

I woke up one morning, with a swollen face and neck and a weird rash on my body, thinking I was having a reaction to something. I went into hospital. Once in the exam room the doctor began to question me, all the while she was glancing at my cheeks. Finally, she said that she was certain that I had 'slap face'. I looked around for the cameras sure that it was some hoax, but she assured me that it was a slang term for fifths disease, a virus. Sure enough, when I looked into the mirror there were my cheeks gleaming bright red just as if I had been slapped repeatedly. I had terrible body and joint aches for weeks as well as just a feeling of weakness. I am in my 50's so this was a surprise, but I do recall seeing children at the church group who did have apple cheeks. So maybe they had it too. I think the worst for me was the aching and weakness, glad it is gone.

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Comment from: Alison, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 11

Two weeks ago, I started with a sore throat and runny nose. As the week progressed, I experienced nausea, joint pain, low grade fever, lacked energy and had upset stomach. I went to the doctor who tested me for the flu, which was negative. On Thursday, my son came home from school stating they had sent several kids home who were running a fever and had a rash. He said the nurse called it Fifth Disease and he had the rash on his upper arms and armpit area. He stated he had been feeling fine. On Sunday, when I was actually feeling better, I noticed I had a rash develop on my two middle knuckles. When I took off my shoes, I had a spotty rash all over my feet and side of my ankles. On Monday morning, I woke up to swollen hands and feet. I also felt like someone had beaten my elbow, knees and ankles with a baseball bat. It was difficult to move. On Tuesday morning, I woke up from a numb feeling in several fingers. I returned to the doctor the next day because this was freaking me out and was informed this disease produces the effects of arthritis in adults and these effects would least several weeks. Today, it has been two weeks and the rash has progressed up the bottom portion of my legs. It feels prickly at times and is red and inflamed looking. I am very thankful my son has not experienced the same symptoms I have because it has been miserable. Now reading comments from others and the duration of this illness is upsetting. I am a 43 year old female.

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Comment from: ahtist, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 05

I began with very sore wrists and hands and stiffness in my knees. I thought it was from driving a long distance. I spent time on the beach that weekend in the sun, which may have aggravated it. I drove home Sunday night and considered going to the hospital. In about an hour I woke up feeling much worse. I could not undress or dress myself. We rushed to the hospital and were told that I had a "flare up of arthritis." The doctor said I should move around more in the morning! Luckily my real doctor knew the symptoms and tested me for Lyme disease. I did test positive for Lyme, but the doctor and rheumatologist believed it was a false positive. I was put on the antibiotic, just in case. I work in a school, and we had a huge outbreak of fifth disease. I also tend to be anemic and have an underactive thyroid. I feel for anyone going through this; it was extremely scary! I had bed rest for a week, and it lasted about a month, but much milder symptoms than that one night. I am 47.

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Fifth Disease - Symptoms Question: What were the symptoms of your fifth disease?
Fifth Disease - Treatment Question: Describe how you treated the symptoms of fifth disease. What would you recommend to someone with the illness?

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