Slapped Cheek Syndrome In Babies: Symptoms, Causes, & Cure

Slapped Cheek Syndrome In Babies: Symptoms, Causes, & Cure

3 Oct 2022 | 3 min Read

Reema Shah

Author | 740 Articles

Slapped cheek syndrome is also known as the fifth disease and is common in children. It usually gets better on its own within three weeks. This syndrome is rare in adults, however, can become serious. Read on to find out about the symptoms of slapped cheek syndrome along with the causes and cure.

Causes Of Slapped Cheek Syndrome

It’s difficult to avoid spreading slapped cheek syndrome. The majority of people do not know they have it until they get a rash.

This syndrome is caused by a virus called parvovirus B19. Like many viral infections, it is spread through mucus from an infected person when sneezing or coughing. This mucus is then transferred by the hand to the mouth or nose of another person. The virus spreads to other people including surfaces or objects by coughing or sneezing near them.

Symptoms Of Slapped Cheek Syndrome

The first sign of slapped cheek syndrome is usually a feeling of unease for a few days. Your child may also experience its other common symptoms such as fever, stomach issues, and even runny nose. Specifically, here are the common symptoms to watch out for:

  • High temperature
  • Runny nose and sore throat
  • Feeling generally unwell
  • Headache
  • Upset stomach

How Long Does it Last?

The cheek rash usually reduces within two weeks. The body rash also tends to heal within two weeks. However, at times it may last up to a month especially if it’s hot or there’s anxiety and stress.

After a few days, a distinctive bright red rash on both cheeks of the baby appears. By the time this rash sets, the condition is no longer communicable.

After another few days, a light pink rash may also appear on the baby’s chest, stomach, arms and thighs. This usually has a raised appearance and may even be itchy.

The rashes will usually fade within two weeks. However, at times the body rash may come and go for a few weeks even after the infection has passed due to heat, anxiety or stress.

Some children may experience joint pain and stiffness but it’s rare. The joint pain can continue for many weeks even after the other symptoms are no longer there.

Cure For Slapped Cheek Syndrome

You normally need not see a doctor for slapped cheek syndrome. But there are a few things you can do to stop its further spread and/or prevent it at home.

symptoms of slapped cheek syndrome
Slapped cheek syndrome in babies causes the baby’s face to develop pink rashes and fever as well / Image credit – Canva
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Babies should continue to be given their normal feeds
  • Take rest
  • Apply a moisturiser onto the itchy skin
  • Talk to a doctor about itchy skin as they can recommend the best antihistamine for children
  • In any case, avoid giving Aspirin to children who are under 16 years of age.

Preventing Slapped Cheek Syndrome

It’s not easy to prevent slapped cheek syndrome, as it spreads quickly without any noticeable symptoms.

However, ensuring everyone in the house washes their hands frequently may help stop the infection from spreading.

So far there are no vaccines available to protect one against the condition.

Cover image credit – Canva



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