What are the Symptoms of Slap Cheek?

Slap cheek, medically known as fifth disease or erythema infectiosum, is a viral infection caused by the parvovirus B19. It is most common in children, but adults can also be affected. Symptoms of slap cheek may include:

  • Facial Rash (“Slapped Cheek” Appearance): A distinctive red rash, typically appearing on both cheeks, giving the appearance of having been slapped.
  • Fever: A mild to moderate fever, often occurring before the rash appears.
  • Flu-like Symptoms: These may include headache, muscle aches, fatigue, and general malaise.
  • Sore Throat: Soreness, itchiness, or discomfort in the throat.
  • Runny or Stuffy Nose: Nasal congestion or a runny nose may be present.
  • Joint Pain: Pain, stiffness, or swelling in the joints, particularly in adults.
  • Itching or Skin Rash: Itchy rash may develop on the torso, arms, legs, or buttocks.

It’s important to note that not everyone infected with the parvovirus B19 will develop the distinctive “slapped cheek” rash. Additionally, some individuals, especially adults, may experience more joint pain and swelling than children.

Slap cheek is usually a mild and self-limiting illness. In healthy individuals, it often resolves on its own without specific treatment. However, it can be a concern for pregnant women and individuals with weakened immune systems. If you suspect slap cheek, especially during pregnancy or if you have a compromised immune system, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional for appropriate evaluation and guidance.