What does fifth disease look like

A lot of people ask me what does fifth disease look like?  They expect some long drawn out answer from a medical journal, but honestly it's a lot more straight forward and simple than that.  So what does fifth disease look like?  Like you've been slapped!  Hence the "slapped cheek" disease term I've been referring to.  But here's some more characteristics that may deem useful to your studies:


  • Bright red cheeks with pale skin around the mouth area
  • A red lacy or bumpy rash that may occur on the chest area, abdomen and back, which may continue to spread to the extremities. It may be itchy.
  • This rash may fluctuate from better to worse with temperature and/or weather changes. Sunlight may make the rash flare up.
  • This rash may sometimes come and go for several months at a time.
  • Fever is present in 25% of cases or more.
  • Mild cold symptoms may occur in patients with fifth disease
  • Some will experience headaches, body aches, and muscle aches.
  • Some patients may have general aches and fevers, which resolve and then have the rash break out 1-3 weeks later.
  • Some children may have a rash, with no other symptoms or fever whatsoever.
  • Adults, especially the women, can experience joint pain and swelling.
  • Some patients might come and then resolve without anyone even detecting it.