James came home, shortly after Christmas, from an outing with his Grandparents – and I noticed that his cheeks were very colored – red. Like, some slapped him silly, red. I thought at first it was frostbite. I mentioned it to Tim, and we racked our brains out trying to figure out why his cheeks were so red. By the next morning, his arms and legs were covered in this horrible, blotchy rash. Now, I’m thinking some sort of illness – Tim thought it was dry skin. We rubbed creams, ointments and gave him benydral – doing anything we could to get rid of this thing – whatever is was.
Thankfully, I had a friend who has a child who had something similar and so I contacted her ASAP and she talked me through what her son had had – and gave me some great web pages to look at …… and there it was …… James has 5th disease. I had NEVER heard of this, but reading up about it was like reading James’ hour-to-hour status.
A couple days later, I noticed that my arms and legs were covered in this blotchy rash and I felt warm to the touch and I knew immediately what it was. However, the 2-3 days rash, low grade fever and grumpiness of James experienced was NOTHING compared to the weeks (hopefully not months) of swollen hands and feet, fatigue, muscle pains and aches, fever and non-functioning brain symptoms that I now have. A day later, James came home with a note from his school informing the parents that our children have been exposed to 5th disease (virus)! NOW I know WHERE we got it! Believe it or not, that made this Mom feel a WHOLE lot better.
I’m actually not complaining, however – I am SO glad that I knew someone who had ‘been there, done that’ – because I was really starting to loose my mind …. Do I take him to the doctor? Is this a sign of something worse to come? Where did this come from and what is it? ALL my questions were answered by a friend! I’m grateful that this happened AFTER Christmas, so that the guys have lots of new things to distract them for a while and because I was able to be well and energized to cook and wrap presents and be normal for the Holidays. PLUS, I get to do a lot of napping and sitting on my new comfy recliner, sipping on my coffee, cuddling with my little guys and have lots of time to read – which was one of my New Years resolutions! Be careful what you wish for 🙂
So, if you start to have these type of symptoms, or you start noticing them in your kiddo’s – now, you know what it could possibly be! Just make sure you catch up on sleep, keep plenty hydrated and show a little extra mercy to those super grumpy little ones.
1st sign: Rash – red, white and blotchy – on both facial cheeks.
2nd sign: Rash – now on legs and arms (possibly belly and back, as well)
3rd sign: Fever. Not a super high one, but a low grade fever, with possible chills.
5th Disease for children is much more mild than it is for adults – and in some cases, adults have had these symptoms for weeks, even months. Once the rash shows itself, it is no longer contagious, however (unfortunately) the signs are not obvious UNTIL the rash starts, so there’s no real way of knowing you have this – until you HAVE it! So far, there is no immunization for 5th disease, but I see one in our near future!!!