Slapped cheek syndrome is a skin condition characterized by distinctive bright red skin rashes occurring on the cheeks. People with this condition experience nausea, vomiting and low-grade fever, including cough, headache, sore throat, diarrhea and stomach ache. The syndrome is also called erythema infectiosum, fifth disease and parvovirus infection.
Slapped cheek syndrome usually resolves on its own with adequate rest and fluids. Still, treatments are available to help patients manage the symptoms while the virus is still active. There are some instances when the condition requires immediate and aggressive treatment, specifically for people who have compromised immunity, anemia and those who are pregnant.
Causes of slapped cheek syndrome
Slapped cheek syndrome arises when an individual is infected by the human parvovirus B19 by means of blood contact, hand to hand contact and respiratory secretions. This virus, which is different from those affecting animals, is particularly active during spring and winter months. It is proven infectious during the week prior to the appearance of skin rashes. Elementary-aged children are mostly affected by the condition.
People who have the following conditions are at risk of developing serious complications due to slapped cheek syndrome:
- Sickle Cell Anemia
- Receiving cancer treatments and anti-rejection drugs
Diagnosis and treatment of slapped cheek syndrome
Those who have the risk factors for severe medical complications due to the parvovirus infection will benefit from a simple blood test to determine their level of immunity to the infection as well as figure out if they have been recently infected.
For uncomplicated slapped cheek syndrome, home care treatment is sufficient. This often involves getting enough rest and drinking plenty of fluids. The patient may also take mild analgesic which helps relieve pain. Topical creams and cold packs also aids in soothing the skin rash. On the other hand, those who have severe anemia will be treated with blood transfusions and must be hospitalized; while people with compromised immunity will receive antibodies by means of immune globulin injections. For pregnant women affected by the syndrome, the treatment involves blood transfusions and medications. It is still possible for the patient to be stricken with slapped cheek syndrome again after he or she recovers as the condition attacks the immune system.
Slapped Cheek Syndrome Pictures