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Fifth disease rash

Fifth disease rash on face, with close-up of second-stage body rash

Fifth disease (erythema infectiosum) is sometimes called "slapped-cheek disease" because of the rash that some people get on the face.

If a rash appears, usually it has two or three distinct stages:

  • A bright red rash occurs on the sides of the face and sometimes on the forehead and chin. This rash usually is gone within 5 days.
  • Another rash appears on the neck, trunk, forearms, upper legs, and buttocks. This rash starts as round red spots and begins to take on a lacy look. It can be itchy, especially in older children. This second stage lasts a week or less.
  • After the body rash fades, it may come back if the person is out in the sun, gets too warm, or is under stress. This rash lasts 1 to 3 weeks. Even though a rash comes back, it does not mean the illness is worse.

Current as of: February 10, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine

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  • Fifth disease rash

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400 West 16th Street, Pueblo, CO 81003

719.584.4000