Slapped cheek syndrome

Slapped cheek syndrome
is a viral infection.

It's caused by a virus
called parvovirus B19.

Slapped cheek syndrome is spread
in the air when we cough or laugh,

when we sneeze, or in saliva and air
droplets when we're in close contact.

That's why when children get it,

it's mostly children
between the age of four and 12.

It can spread very rapidly
throughout a classroom or school.

The symptoms to look out for are
generally those of a common cold,

so sneezing, runny nose,
sore throat, headache, fever.

But the characteristic of this infection
is the rash.

This is the slapped cheek appearance,

the blotchy red rash
on one or both cheeks

that will remain there but could spread
to the rest of the body.

It may go to the trunk, back,
arms, legs, the palms of the hands,

the soles of the feet.
Generally, it's not painful

but it might be irritating for some.

Unlike the worrying rash of meningitis,
if you press this rash it will fade.

Often a child who has got the infection
barely gets any symptoms at all,

so it's the usual management
of any viral infection,

plenty of rest, plenty of fluids.

And for sore throats
or a high temperature

children's paracetamol of ibuprofen
is perfectly reasonable.

If you're not sure have a word with
a pharmacist or with your doctor.

The people who need to be concerned
are pregnant women.

If you get the infection in pregnancy
and you've not had it before

in early pregnancy it can
increase the risk of miscarriage.

Generally, slapped cheek syndrome is not
an infection to be too worried about.

Most people get this infection
and don't even know they've had it.

It clears up without leaving
any long-term complications.

If you're not sure whether
your child has it or another infection

then it's always best
to seek medical advice.