Practice the diagnosis and treatment of infectious erythema

2021-03-25 12:00 AM

The cheeks have raised red areas, contrasting with a pale area around the mouth. Therefore, this disease is also known as slapped cheek disease.

Infectious erythema is a mild, upper respiratory tract infection that is most common in children between the ages of 5 and 14 years. However, sometimes the disease occurs in adults and can be especially dangerous for pregnant women.

The disease can break out into an epidemic because it spreads easily through contact with an infected person. In the late 19th century, it was ranked 5th in popularity, behind measles, mumps, German measles (rubella), and chickenpox. As a result, this disease is sometimes referred to in the West as the fifth disease.


It is caused by a virus strain called parvovirus.

The disease is only infectious in the early stages. Once the infected person has a rash, the possibility of infection is almost gone. Therefore, it is necessary to minimize contact with the patient in the early stages of the disease.


The incubation period is about 4-14 days. During this first stage, the patient often has a mild fever and a feeling of fatigue and lethargy. Then the following symptoms appeared:

The cheeks have raised red areas, contrasting with a pale area around the mouth. Therefore, this disease is also known as slapped cheek disease.


A raised, localized rash that develops 1 to 4 days after the rash appears. The most common red areas are on the arms and legs and sometimes also on the torso. The red spots gradually coalesce into areas or long patches, especially on the arms and legs, and usually become more prominent after a hot bath. The erythema usually lasts about 7 to 10 days and then goes away on its own. However, the rash can reappear if the skin is irritated, exposed to direct sunlight, or some other factor such as exercise, bathing, or psychological stress ...

In very rare cases, joint pain may be present.


There is no cure for this disease. Treatment is therefore mainly about monitoring and controlling the symptoms.

Take paracetamol or aspirin at appropriate doses to relieve symptoms.

Calamine lotion (which contains zinc oxide) can help relieve itching on the skin.

Advise the patient to rest and drink plenty of fluids.

Bacterial erythema rarely causes complications, but if the patient is accompanied by blood disorders, including anaemia such as sickle cell anaemia, Mediterranean anaemia ... the disease can cause severe anaemia.

It is rare in adults, but sometimes serious cases can occur. If a woman gets this disease during pregnancy, in very rare cases it can lead to miscarriage. In some cases, the disease can cause joint pain, arthritis.

The disease usually goes away on its own and leaves no sequelae, although the erythematous areas may reappear many times later when there is irritation on the skin or when exposed to direct sunlight ... Once infected, the patient usually has a long-term immunity, very rarely getting sick again.