Slapped Cheek Syndrome is also called:

  • Fifth Disease
  • Erythema Infectiosum
  • Parvovirus B19

Slapped Cheek is a common childhood viral infection that usually occurs in children between 3-15 years old. Almost half of the population will have been infected by adulthood and childhood infection gives lifelong immunity.

It is spread by sneezing and saliva.

Viral symptoms occur about one week after exposure:

  • Headache
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Low grade fever
  • General misery/off form

The facial rash usually appears up to one week after these viral symptoms have resolved. The rash is red and affects the cheeks but not the nose or around the mouth or eyes. This usually last for 2-4 days.

After the facial rash appears a red, patchy, non-itchy rash appears on the body. It fades over about three weeks and can flare with heat and exercise.
The illness is usually self limiting but rarely can cause joint inflammation and, in some cases, anaemia (children with underlying blood problems like Sickle Cell Disease should seek medical advice).

The biggest concern with Slapped Cheek is how the virus may affect babies during pregnancy.
If exposed to Slapped Cheek during pregnancy it is important to see your doctor and check for immunity (this is done with a simple blood test).

  • If an expectant mother is immune there is no need for concern
  • However, if non-immune close follow up and repeat blood tests are required

If concerned you can click here to arrange an appointment with one of our doctors.