Kids Home > Fifth Disease Symptoms

One of the most common fifth disease symptoms is a rash on the face that resembles a slapped cheek. A few days before this characteristic rash appears, some people may have early symptoms that include low-grade fever, chills, body aches, and tiredness. Unlike a child's symptoms of fifth disease, adults with the illness may experience joint pain, swelling, or both.

Fifth Disease Symptoms and Signs: An Overview

When a person becomes infected with the virus that causes fifth disease (parvovirus B19), the virus begins to multiply within the body. Typically, after 4 to 14 days, fifth disease symptoms can begin; however, it may take as long as 20 days for symptoms to appear. The period between becoming infected and the start of symptoms is called the incubation period.

Early Symptoms of Fifth Disease

A few days before the characteristic rash associated with the illness appears, some people may have early signs and symptoms of fifth disease that include:
  • Low-grade fever
  • Body aches
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Cold-like symptoms.

Common Fifth Disease Symptoms

Common fifth disease symptoms are usually mild and can include:
  • "Slapped cheek" rash on the face (see Fifth Disease Pictures)
  • Lacy, red rash on the trunk, arms, hands, and legs.
Occasionally, the rash may itch. It typically goes away in 7 to 10 days, but can return off and on for several weeks, especially after:
  • Stress
  • Exercise
  • Bathing
  • Change in temperature
  • Exposure to sunlight.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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