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Fifth Disease

Treatment for Fifth Disease

There is no treatment that will kill the virus that causes fifth disease; therefore, treatment goals focus on managing the symptoms as the body fights the parvovirus. Fortunately, fifth disease is usually a mild illness among children and adults who are otherwise healthy.
(Click Fifth Disease Treatment for more information.)
Parvovirus B19 infection may cause a serious illness in people with certain medical conditions (see Fifth Disease Prognosis).

Fifth Disease and Adults

About 50 percent of adults have already had fifth disease as children or adolescents, and therefore are immune to the parvovirus. If an adult is not immune, he or she can get fifth disease (see Adult Fifth Disease). Unlike a child's fifth disease symptoms, adults can develop joint pain, swelling, or both. Usually, joints on both sides of the body are affected. The joints most frequently affected are the hands, wrists, and knees. The joint pain and swelling usually go away in a week or two, but can last for several months.
Adults can also get a rash with fifth disease, but it is most often absent or does not have the "slapped cheek" look that is seen in children.
(Click Adult Fifth Disease for more information.)
A Dose of Reassurance for Parents of Picky Eaters

Information on Fifth Disease

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