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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Erythema infectiosum, or fifth disease, is a mild infection caused by a virus. It is spread through respiratory droplets, such as when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It can also be spread through a blood transfusion. Erythema infectiosum is most common in school-aged children.
- Antihistamines: This medicine may help decrease itching. It is available without a doctor's order. Use as directed.
- Ibuprofen or acetaminophen: These medicines are given to decrease your child's pain and fever. They can be bought without a doctor's order. Ask how much medicine is safe to give your child, and how often to give it.
- Give your child's medicine as directed. Call your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Your child could develop Reye syndrome if he takes aspirin. Reye syndrome can cause life-threatening brain and liver damage. Check your child's medicine labels for aspirin, salicylates, or oil of wintergreen.
Help your child rest:
Encourage him to read or draw quietly. He can return to his daily activities as directed.
Wash hands to prevent the spread of infection:
Remind your child to wash his hands often with soap and water. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom, change a child's diaper, or sneeze. Wash your hands before you prepare or eat food.
Return to daycare or school:
Your child is contagious during the week before his rash appears. This is usually when your child has flu-like symptoms. Your child can return to daycare or school when his face rash appears. This means he is no longer contagious. Tell your child's daycare or school that your child has fifth disease. They may need to tell other parents that their children have been exposed.
Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.
Contact your child's primary healthcare provider if:
- Your child's rash does not go away after 10 days.
- Your child's joint pain and swelling do not get better with treatment.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- Your child is confused.
- Your child is hard to wake.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.