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Understanding Fifth Disease -- Diagnosis & Treatment

How Is Fifth Disease Diagnosed?

In most cases, fifth disease is diagnosed based on the appearance of typical symptoms. 

A blood test can confirm whether you have fifth disease, but this usually is not necessary.

Understanding Fifth Disease

Find out more about fifth disease:

Basics

Symptoms

Diagnosis and Treatment

Prevention

 

If a pregnant woman has been exposed to fifth disease, she may be given a blood test to determine whether she had fifth disease in the past and is, therefore, immune. 

If she contracts fifth disease, either an amniocentesis or a test called percutaneous umbilical blood sampling (PUBS) can be used to test for the virus in the fetus and determine the severity of fetal anemia, if it exists. 

Ultrasound can be used to look for complications in the fetus, such as abnormal pooling of fluid around the heart, lungs, or abdomen.

What Are the Treatments for Fifth Disease?

Generally, no treatment for fifth disease is necessary for otherwise healthy children and adults who get it. If the rash itches, an antihistamine can be used. For those with joint pain, especially in adults, anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as ibuprofen can be helpful.

Anyone who has sickle cell anemia, chronic anemia, or an impaired immune system can receive immunoglobulin by injection to fight off the virus. Some of these patients may also need transfusions of red blood cells.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on March 21, 2014

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