Erythema infectiosum

  • Viral infection that may affect the entire body
  • Symptoms may include bright red cheeks followed by a honeycomb rash pattern on body, arms and legs, fever and headache
  • Commonly spread by breathing in infected droplets from the air or contact with blood or contaminated objects
  • Can also be spread from mother to infant during childbirth
  • Affects males and females but more common in females
  • The classic rash syndrome occurs mainly in children, most often in school age children
  • May be mild without symptoms to severe

GENERAL THERAPY

  • Spreads person to person via respiratory secretions or hand to hand contact
  • Contagious a week before the rash appears
  • As soon as the rash breaks out, the children can return to school or daycare
  • Rash fades in 2 to 5 days
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Toss tissues that have been used immediately
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink lots of fluids
  • Take oatmeal baths
  • Loose fitting cotton clothing helps

 

MEDICATIONS

  • Acetaminophen
  • Topical:
    • Calamine lotion
  • Antihistamines:
    • Benadryl

 

PRECAUTIONS AND AVOIDANCES

  • If severely anemic may need to be hospitalized
  • If you’re pregnant, the doctor can monitor the baby’s progress
  • Avoid giving aspirin to children, can trigger a disorder known as Reye’s syndrome
  • For a few weeks after, the rash can come back when you get to warm, are under stress, or out in the sun
  • Prevent scratching by trimming nails and wear gloves at night
  • In adults with joint pain and swelling, resting joints and limiting activity helps
  • Not the same as parvovirus seen in pets
  • Can’t get from or give to pets

 

SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION IF:

  • In a child, a fever is greater than 38.9 ºC (102 ºF)
  • You are pregnant and been exposed to infection
  • Your immune system has been weakened by cancer treatment, organ transplant, or a pre-existing condition
  • You have any type of anemia

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