Fifth Disease Treatment
For people with fifth disease, treatment usually involves managing their symptoms while their body fights the virus. Treatment options often include getting rest and taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever and body aches. For the few people that develop severe anemia as a result of fifth disease, hospitalization and blood transfusions may be required.
There is no treatment that will kill the virus that causes fifth disease (parvovirus B19); therefore, treatment focuses on relieving fifth disease symptoms as the body fights the parvovirus. Fortunately, fifth disease is usually a mild illness.
For fever and body aches, a person can take acetaminophen (Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (marketed as Advil®, Motrin®, Nuprin®, and others). If a person under 20, he or she should not take aspirin unless the doctor approves it. In children and teens, aspirin taken for viral illnesses has been associated with a potentially fatal disease known as Reye's syndrome.
Joint pain and swelling in adults usually gets better without long-term disability. Treatment for joint pain and swelling can include:
- Limiting activities to a minimum
- Taking medicines (such as aspirin or ibuprofen) to relieve symptoms.
The few people develop severe anemia as the result of parvovirus B19 infection may need to be hospitalized and receive blood transfusions. People with immune system problems may need special medical care, including treatment with immune globulin (helps the body fight viruses), to help their bodies recover from the infection.