Among viral infections that children are contracting these days, Erythema infectiosum seems to have become more common. Dr. Kenneth P. Rebong explains.
Kenneth Pomar Rebong, MD (N/A:N/A)
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, May 23, 2019 /EINPresswire.com/ — With advancing developments in the field of science and medicine, there are, unfortunately, others things that are further developing as well: viruses and viral infections. It is a global concern currently that viruses are becoming more powerful and harder to be vaccinated against. Among these viruses is the fifth disease or more formally known as Erythema infectiosum.
The primary targets of fifth diseases are those with weak immune systems and underdeveloped defense mechanisms i.e. children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people who are immunocompromised (HIV/AIDS patients), but mostly children aged between 5-15 years.
Erythema infectiosum, generally referred to as the fifth disease, is caused by a virus called parvovirus B19. This virus is chiefly transmitted by respiratory secretions like saliva, mucus, phlegm etc., but can also be contracted from infected blood. There is currently no vaccine available for the parvovirus B19 for humans.
The symptoms of this infection include mild fevers accompanied by headaches, skin inflammation, rashes, and flu-like symptoms, like a runny nose. Once these symptoms have settled, a distinctive red rash appears on the face making the child seem like they have been slapped on the cheek. A few days later, the rash gradually spreads down to the trunk, arms, and legs. Once the rashes have appeared, the patient is no longer infectious or contagious. The fifth disease infection usually lasts from 1 to 3 weeks for children with no long-lasting effects of the disease. However, in older children and adults, fifth disease, at times, causes swelling of the joints and pain, which lasts for weeks to months and, very seldom, years.
Even though fifth disease does not yet have a vaccine to prevent its proliferation, it can still be treated if contracted. Treatments include fever-reducing medications like antipyretics, itch relieving gels and creams like antipruritics (inhibit itching) and painkillers like aspirin and paracetamol for general body ache. Since the infection is self-limiting, there are no specified therapies prescribed for it. Moreover, because it is a viral infection, antibiotics are not helpful, either.
The fifth disease hardly ever leads to any complications among younger patients. However, in adults and teenagers, it may lead to certain complication. When the disease infects people with weakened immune systems, it momentarily either slows down or stops their body's production of oxygen-binding red blood cells (RBCs), consequently leading to severe anemia and breathing difficulties within the patient which may then be needed to be treated in a hospital.
If you believe a child around you is displaying any of the afore-mentioned signs and symptoms, seek medical assistance as soon as possible. In addition, avoid unnecessary physical contact to prevent contracting an infection, advises Dr. Rebong.
About Dr. Kenneth Pomar Rebong
Dr. Kenneth P. Rebong, a medical doctor in San Jose, California, specializes in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. The scope of his practice is from age 0 to 21. He graduated from FEUNRMF University in Manila, Philippines and completed his residency at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.
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