©2018 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved. eMedicineHealth does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See Additional Information.

Fifth Disease

Question:

Please describe your experience with fifth disease. Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Dianna , 35-44 Female (Caregiver) Published: July 21

Almost 3 months ago I had a very bad itch on my forehead. After about 2 days I developed a rash on my arms and back that was very itchy. After a week of the rash, my joints were swollen in my wrists, shoulders, knees, it is so painful. I was diagnosed with parvovirus B19, fifth disease. Like I stated, it has been three months and the joint pain is still so painful, and I have lost my job because I can barely walk. I am 40 years old and this virus has taken over my life, I do not know what to do at this point.

Comment from: Janet, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 03

I had fifth's disease after there was an outbreak in JK/SK (junior/senior kindergarten) at our school. I felt faint on the Friday, and the following week I had intense joint pain. I really felt like I'd been run over by a truck. I was tested for rheumatoid arthritis which came back negative. I was surprised but relieved. The joint pain continued as well as a gut pain. It took almost 6 months to clear up. I am now 60, but at the time my hands looked like I was 80. A fellow staff member had similar symptoms and fifths.

Comment from: Ang, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 07

I'm 48, female, on day 15 of fifth disease. Seems to have affected mostly the right side of my body: right cheek, ear, sinuses, right side throat, wheezing in right lung, and muscles and small joints ache on the right side, especially my wrist. The only unilateral effects are my red nose and a light rash on my upper chest. I'm super-fatigued all the time. Every time I think I feel better and get up to do stuff, fever and all comes back. This is harsh. My adult daughter (25) who got it at the same time has recovered now.

Comment from: Melinda R., 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: December 09

I am a 43 year old mother with a 5 year old who brought home fifth disease a few weeks ago. She had the hallmark 'slapped cheek' symptom with body rash and itchy feet and hands. Soon, I began experiencing the worst foot and hand itch I have ever had. No amount of scratching could alleviate my itch. My feet began to turn beet red and hands red. I have had terrible migraine-like headaches daily (for 2 weeks) now, my wrists have crepitus, and my hands and feet tingle, even when I sit, or walk.

Comment from: jersey girl, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 24

I'm 71 and just getting over bronchitis. I developed a rash on my legs, chest, ears, part of my face and arms. I thought I had an allergic reaction to food I ate, so took a Benadryl. Then I developed a sinusitis, sneezing and runny nose, I thought it was allergies with change of season. Then a few days later I had a stiff neck and woke up with a sore throat two days in a row. It was fifth disease and I felt horrible. I seem to be improving as the day progresses. I am sick of being sick, but I feel Im bouncing back.

Comment from: Viral Chic, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 13

I have a photographic memory for illness and don't recall having fifth disease as a kid. The other day my arms and legs started itching like mad. I made myself stop scratching but it spread. My face looked like I'd been sunburned or slapped. Then it moved to my trunk. Tiny red bumps with ground zero being my right leg which was also turning purple. Doctors were stumped. Blood test said high C-reactive protein. I had 8 days of itchy rash; 2 weeks later and I'm still depressed. Diagnosis was fifth disease, West Nile virus or autoimmunity.

Comment from: TLS, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 06

I have had fifth disease for 5 years. I am 49. Doctors didn't believe me, even at the health agency I am a social worker at! I researched the illness and found a parvovirus B19 group that was helpful. Exercise, even though you are so tired, sore, swollen and fatigued, you feel like you are dying is a must! I cut out sugar, fried food, and starchy carbs. I drink a gallon of an herbal water mixture I make daily to cleanse my body and help with the chronic thirst and inflammation.

Comment from: Raining Roses, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 08

I am a 40 year old female here. I was just diagnosed with fifth disease after my children had it. I developed flu like symptoms all of a sudden and a week later developed the rash. It never got on my face, just my arms, leg, and lower torso. That evening the joint pain started in my neck and up the back of my head. The next day the joint pain was all over. Even my left eyelid hurt. The doctor suggested taking Tylenol arthritis and did blood work to check for kidney damage and see if it’s in the bones.

Comment from: TriStar, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 25

I am so glad to see these other comments about fifth disease that helps me realize I am not the only one (not that I want others to be sick but it does help me to understand this better). I started with a low grade fever but severe chills and chest pain mainly at night. Then, I had joint pain and swelling in my hands and feet making it even hard to walk. I finally went to the doctor and he told it was fifth disease. I can’t believe how much it makes my joints hurt after having it for almost 2 weeks. Such a strange virus!

SLIDESHOW

Exercise Tips for Kids and the Whole Family See Slideshow
Comment from: Kssudd , 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 13

I am a 58 year old woman who was diagnosed with fifth disease a few weeks ago. It has been the worst thing I have ever experienced. I have constant high fevers that come and go and absolutely no energy. I have had to receive IV fluids due to the fevers causing dehydration. The first week I experienced a rash on my arms, back and stomach that itched terribly. I wonder if anyone else has experienced such severe symptoms.

Comment from: DennyGale, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: February 21

I have had fifth disease for a little over 2 weeks now. No rashes but I do swell up almost every night, usually soft tissue areas; right top eye lid, left top eye lid, forehead, under the chin, throat, tongue and just about every gland you can imagine. Just when you think it's gone and you have no symptoms for a few days something new swells up. Terrible virus for adults!

Comment from: NataliyaC, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: February 04

My daughter got diagnosed with fifth disease, when I was pregnant with our second child at the time, about 7 weeks into the pregnancy. Two weeks after my daughter got diagnosed I tested positive for the disease. The same day I found out the results, I lost my baby. My doctor didn't deny nor confirm that that was the reason, but I know in my heart the virus had a lot to do with it. I have never heard of that disease until now, I wish a lot more mothers to be are aware of it and do whatever they can to protect their unborn babies. There is just not enough awareness of the disease and the way it creeps up on you it's terrifying. I do not wish this to happen to anybody!

Comment from: Roseee, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 29

I had Fifth Disease in 1963 when I was about 15 years old. I had a very high fever (106 was what Mom reported), and was terribly sick with rash, the fever, and my body was so sore, I could not be touched. I ended up with a MS diagnosis in my 30's, which may have been related to that illness. I was also depressed for a time after the disease, and very weak with some problem walking. To this day, I have a rosacea type rash on my face, which just looks like a healthy rosy appearance. I had treatment for rash, but it didn't help. Being so young probably helped me recover, however, this is, in my opinion, a disease that needs watching, and more study. If I had had better care, I may not have ended up with future problems in adulthood. My doctor, at that time, knew of the disease, and diagnosed it, but I had had rubella, and the regular measles as a younger child, and chicken pox, and I think I may have developed an autoimmune disorder after that. I also developed heart disease in early 20's.

Comment from: Jean, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: September 20

I got Fifth disease in '72. At the time I came down with it I was a fairly heavy smoker. I was so sick for two days that I couldn't smoke and ended up quitting. My body was so painful that I didn't want to be touched anywhere as it increased the pain immensely. I was in bed with this for at least four days and finally broke out with a rash. Before I came down with this I had fight to keep myself up to 100 lbs. After getting this I developed a constant hunger and I am talking about having this feeling 24 hours a day! The weight started piling on. Thankfully I read somewhere that if you were lacking Choline you could have a constant hunger. I started taking lecithin that contains choline, and within a few days lost the constant hunger. However, my metabolism no longer burns as fast as it did before I contacted this and have fought the weight ever since. Along with the weight I also developed arthritic like symptoms. At one time it got so bad I couldn't even walk by myself and it hurt to even breathe. It has never been that bad since but I have had aching every day since. Some days are fairly good but I never have a day that I am pain free and it has been 38 years ago. I was 27 at the time I got sick with this and evidently picked up from one of my two children. They had not showed any symptoms that I noticed.

Comment from: Susan, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 04

My experience started with feeling faint on 2 occasions. A few days later, I developed a lacy rash on my arms, trunk and legs following a shower. It was not itchy. After another day or two, I developed soreness in my right wrist that began to radiate into my forearm. The next day, my left wrist was also sore. My hands were achy and I found it difficult to perform routine tasks such as opening jars and tying shoe laces. After another day, my ankles became very sore. I saw a physician on the next day. By this time, my ankles were swollen, my hands were extremely swollen and my knees began to hurt. I was diagnosed with Parvovirus both IgM and IgG positive. My rheumatoid factor was also elevated (100). The swelling dissipated after several days but my right wrist remains a bit sore even weeks later.

Comment from: Alison, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 11

Two weeks ago, I started with a sore throat and runny nose. As the week progressed, I experienced nausea, joint pain, low grade fever, lacked energy and had upset stomach. I went to the doctor who tested me for the flu, which was negative. On Thursday, my son came home from school stating they had sent several kids home who were running a fever and had a rash. He said the nurse called it Fifth Disease and he had the rash on his upper arms and armpit area. He stated he had been feeling fine. On Sunday, when I was actually feeling better, I noticed I had a rash develop on my two middle knuckles. When I took off my shoes, I had a spotty rash all over my feet and side of my ankles. On Monday morning, I woke up to swollen hands and feet. I also felt like someone had beaten my elbow, knees and ankles with a baseball bat. It was difficult to move. On Tuesday morning, I woke up from a numb feeling in several fingers. I returned to the doctor the next day because this was freaking me out and was informed this disease produces the effects of arthritis in adults and these effects would least several weeks. Today, it has been two weeks and the rash has progressed up the bottom portion of my legs. It feels prickly at times and is red and inflamed looking. I am very thankful my son has not experienced the same symptoms I have because it has been miserable. Now reading comments from others and the duration of this illness is upsetting. I am a 43 year old female.

Comment from: Jo-Ann A., 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 11

I am 47 years. old. One week ago my 7 year old son and I developed fever and cold symptoms for a few days. My sons' fever disappeared quickly and he developed a sunburn looking rash on his face and arms, but said he felt fine. I saw him scratching at his arm, but he denied feeling itchy. The school nurse and the pediatrician said it was fifths' disease. I had started taking antibiotics for bronchitis with green phlegm. I soon developed a pink rash all over my whole body. I called my doctor and he said it would be reasonable to assume I had fifths' disease too. I finished the antibiotics and the bronchitis is improving, but now my hands knees and feet are a little swollen looking and I am having joint pain and stiffness in my fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, toes and worst of all in my knees. Now I am taking Advil for the pain (might I mention I just had back surgery less than one month ago). I hope these joint pains don't last too long.

Comment from: lovingmommy88, 7-12 Male (Caregiver) Published: May 20

My child just developed the fifth disease on Mother's Day. So far, it seems to be not causing a fever or other symptoms of a cold. He is just very itchy and sluggish though. I had never heard of this before until now. Apparently there is a slight outbreak in central Texas in schools and just in everyday public areas. The ER nurse told me she has seen cases within the past week. It looks scary, but as far as I can see it's not that bad. I have two other children. I have not seen any signs that they have contracted it. I hope this helps ease the mind for anyone who might experience this.

Comment from: Dawn Michelle, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 08

I got fifth disease. I was 43 at the time. I wasn't able to work for a month. I had the rash on my face. It looked like I was wearing too much makeup, but it wouldn't wash off. Two days after the rash phase, the joint pain began. First it was in my shoulders and then it moved to my neck and spine, and eventually into my hips, knees and ankles. I lost track of the fever at 105 degrees. Twice, after a trip to the bathroom, my heart was racing so severely I thought about calling an ambulance, but couldn't because I couldn't move. I remember opening my eyes and expecting to look at the ceiling, but I was looking down at my own face. At that moment, I realized that I might be dying. I didn't want to go. My only thought was "I'm not ready yet". Then I was back in my body and felt the pain again. The strongest prescription pain meds did not alleviate the pain. I could not walk without a cane, was severely anemic for over a year, and now have moderate to severe joint pain all the time. I did not have any preexisting auto-immune condition and was healthy and strong. I am at a loss for what to do to help myself. I continue to suffer from fatigue and severe joint pain that at best causes me to limp, and at the worst, I cannot function. If anyone reading my story ends up with this disease, please clear your schedule and be kind to your joints!

Comment from: maryj0526, 3-6 Female (Caregiver) Published: February 07

My daughter has the red cheek part of it but that's about it. She had a runny nose and watery eyes for a day and then the redness in her cheeks appeared. Her cheeks are warm to the touch, but this happened to me after an allergic reaction to something I ate. No fever and she is totally normal. I have been getting a cold medication to relieve a runny nose and the watery eyes are gone.

Comment from: ge'el, Published: February 06

My baby was diagnosed eight days ago. She’s got a fever and inflamed throat. She also has a mild rash on her face and legs. My symptoms followed hers by a 2 day delay. I had sore throat, but did not get a rash.

Comment from: wowedmomma, 35-44 Male (Caregiver) Published: February 06

My child began with the throat hurting. He slept quite a bit in one day and a very poor appetite. We went to the doctor and they didn't know what it was. A rash from the neck down to the feet and on the tops of the hands were noticeable. A week later the "slap to the cheek" rash came up. This is the first day of it. I don't know what to expect now. I do know that there was no fever that we knew of. But you cannot tell when you get the virus so it is very easily spread to other children when the fever is present like any virus. The kicker is I have never heard of this before my child got it. Oh it also seems to make my child more irritable/cranky than normal.

Comment from: Son's Mom, 3-6 Male (Caregiver) Published: September 08

My 5 year old son started this week with what appeared to be sun rash on his forearms. We had just returned from the beach and assumed that his fair skin reacted to the sun, as mine does. The next day he had small pink/red dots on his cheekbones and one small section of his lower back, arms remained the same. The third day he woke up with bright red cheeks and light pink areas on the back of his legs and his entire back, arms still the same. Today, the rash is much smaller on his face and much fainter on his arms, legs and back. He never complained of itchiness, soreness and he never showed any of the early symptoms with the exception of one day last week with clear nasal drainage. Hope this helps!

Comment from: rdprinter, 3-6 Female (Caregiver) Published: June 29

I have a weird story. My daughter works at a pre-school and they had an outbreak of fifth's disease. I had never heard of it so I looked it up and found out it is a parvovirus, they said that it was not the same as the dog version and could not be transmitted to humans. Here's the weird part: two weeks before the outbreak one little girl brought her new puppy to school to show everyone, shortly afterward the puppy came down with parvo and had to be put down. It might all be a coincidence, but it is all a little strange.

Comment from: Mams, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 21

This has been so helpful to me! My two granddaughters have Fifth's Disease and for the past week I have been feeling fatigued and my hands and feet have been swollen and my knees have been just unbearably painful. I had no idea these were symptoms of Fifth's in adults. Thank you to those who shared this. Now at least I know that it's not just old age creeping up on me!

Comment from: Maygan, 3-6 Female (Caregiver) Published: May 06

My daughter was diagnosed with staph infection a little over a week ago. Yesterday she woke up with a slight rash on her legs so I thought she was reacting to the antibiotic. The rash spread all over her body throughout the course of the day and her cheeks stayed red, as if she was sunburned. She was running a fever so I took her to the ER and they said that it was a reaction and to stop the meds. This morning the rash is worse and the fever has spiked 102.6. I took her to the ER again and they said Fifth Disease. She has had a stopped up nose and has been complaining of her foot hurting. The thing that keeps me concerned with this diagnosis is that she is only three and experiencing joint pain, the symptoms all came on at once, not in stages, and her face is swollen. I can't seem to pinpoint what it could be if not Fifth Disease and the doctors don't seem to be doing their research very well, but I will keep looking.

Comment from: Brassy1Brunette, 7-12 Male (Caregiver) Published: March 19

I received a call from my son's mother stating that he has very highly contagious disease called "fifth's disease". She stated that her doctor told her that there is no known treatment or antibiotics for it & that he could be quarantined in a bubble (at home) but is not. I did the research online a feel more at ease it wasn't another story she came up with as usual.

Comment from: Laurie, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 06

I got this in Mexico a couple years ago. For me, the rash wasn't very apparent but it felt like rheumatoid arthritis - very painful, couldn't walk normally, raise my arms, etc. This lasted about 3 weeks. My doctor did tests and thought it was fifth disease. Shortly after I started feeling better, my daughter (8) got this and for her, it was very mild but she did have the characteristic lace leaf rash (I didn't). That confirmed for me what it was.

Comment from: Mary S, 13-18 Male (Caregiver) Published: July 20

At the age of 5 my son had a fever and sore throat then developed a rash and I assumed it was strep and scarlet fever which he had several times before. I took him to our M.D. who sent us to a dermatologist and ended with a fifth disease diagnosis. He is now 18 and still gets an itchy rash when too hot or cold and has pain and swelling of the joints periodically. All the information I've found say's it goes away. It didn't with my son. I think more scientific investigation of this disease is needed and maybe then a cure will be found.

Comment from: anonymous mommy, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: May 26

I am amazed reading these comments from adults who had fifth disease! I had no idea what was wrong with me- I had this mystery illness that started with severe chills and fever. Chills were so bad that I had to put a winter coat on, turn my heating pad on high -stuff it in my coat, then cover up with a blanket and I was still shivering so violently that my back went out from the muscle spasms. I was very ill after that episode for 2 weeks--the worst of which was SEVERE JOINT PAIN and STIFFNESS in my neck, wrists, fingers,hands, KNEES so bad that I could hardly walk at all. I now have leg pains as well that feel sort of like a compressed nerve such as when you sit too long on a chair wrong or something. It has been awful! It has been 3 weeks now and Im still trying to recover.

Comment from: Kathy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 20

I was diagnosed with fifths disease the end of July and now almost the end of September, I still do not feel well. I had a fever of 99 when first stricken with this, sore and swollen hands and feet, the hives-like rash on my arms and legs and overall exhaustion. The rash disappeared along with the swelling of the feet and hands. Every once in awhile I still get the 99 fever, still have pain in my hands, and how my lymph nodes are swollen with a general feeling of malaise. I am a 60 year old female and would like to know how long this lasts and if anyone else has the swollen lymph nodes.

Comment from: purple87, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 27

I am 46 years old my grandson got fifths at school I had heard about the virus and when I looked it up it seemed mild. Then I got it wow I have had it for two weeks now and I feel like I have been beaten all over at one point I could hardly walk. My white blood cell count is low and my sed rate high. This is a brutal virus for adults!

Comment from: Shweta, 3-6 Female (Caregiver) Published: November 11

My 5 year old son has also acquired the disease. He had been getting low grade fever for past one week and now when he was actually beginning to recover this rash appeared on his face. Pediatrician termed it as 'fifth's disease.' I t has not yet spread to his other body parts and I pray that it doesn't get too much worse for him.

CONTINUE SCROLLING FOR RELATED SLIDESHOW

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors