Can Slapped Cheek Cause Diaper Rash?

  • By: Julie Miller
  • Time to read: 5 min.

One of the most common questions that parents have is whether or not slapped cheek or fifth disease can cause diaper rash. The answer to this question is a little bit complicated.

In this blog post, we will explore the relationship between slapped cheek disease or fifth disease and diaper rash. We will also discuss how to treat and prevent diaper rash in your child. Thanks for reading!

What Is the Fifth Disease?

Fifth disease (also called Erythema infectiosum) is a common childhood illness. It causes very mild symptoms that include a rash on the face. The cause is parvovirus B19.

In most cases, the Fifth disease and parvovirus B19 are harmless and go away on their own within a few days or weeks. However, the symptoms of the fifth disease can cause serious problems for pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions.

A pregnant woman who is exposed to the parvovirus B19 infection can pass the virus through her placenta and to the unborn baby. Even though the Fifth disease is generally considered a mild illness, its effects on unborn babies can be very serious.

Why Is It Called the Fifth Disease?

It’s called the Fifth disease because it’s fifth in line with common childhood illnesses that involve a rash. It gets its name from being fifth on the list. The other four illnesses are measles, mumps, rubella, and chickenpox.

All of these diseases were once very common in children, but thanks to vaccines, they’re now much less so. However, the fifth disease is still a fairly common infection caused by a virus. It’s caused by parvovirus B19, and it’s most common in children under the age of 15.

How Do I Know if My Baby Has Fifth Disease?

It’s difficult to tell when a child’s symptoms are that of the Fifth disease until the rash appears. Fifth disease symptoms include:

  • Itchy, mild rash
  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Bright red rash or “slapped cheek rash” on a child’s cheeks
  • Cold-like symptoms
  • Acute severe anemia (children with sickle-cell disease or a weak immune system)
  • Fetal anemia (when pregnant women contract this infectious disease)
  • Body and joint pain for adults and older children

The rash might spread to other parts of the body and they can be itchy.

How Is the Fifth Disease Diagnosed?

The characteristic rash which is the main symptom of the fifth disease is often the first sign that something is wrong. However, because the rash can take up to two weeks to appear, it’s not always helpful in diagnosing the disease.

Blood tests are usually required to confirm the diagnosis. The blood test can be done as early as three days after exposure to the virus and is typically done within two weeks of the start of symptoms.

Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent serious complications for your child.

How Is the Fifth Disease Treated?

Fifth disease is a mild disease that clears on its own without the need for medication or special treatment.

Medicine to treat other symptoms such as high fever and sore throat might be needed. If this is the case, the child needs to drink plenty of fluids to replenish electrolyte balance. Also, make sure your baby is taking enough sleep.

A moisturizer can also help relieve itchiness. But if the itchiness becomes extreme, an antihistamine might be prescribed by the doctor.

Additionally, the slapped cheek is a viral illness that is caused by a virus. This means antibiotics don’t work in treating your child.

However, if your child is showing severe symptoms of fifth disease, the child’s healthcare provider may prescribe certain medications such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. These include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids.

Furthermore, children with other health issues may undergo a specific treatment based on expert advice.

In rare cases, hospitalization and immediate medical care may be necessary. If your child has fifth disease, it is important to monitor them closely for any complications.

If you have any concerns, be sure to speak with your child’s doctor.

How Long Is a Child Contagious With Slapped Cheek Disease?

The symptoms of fifth disease usually appear about a week after being exposed to the parvovirus B19. When the rash appears on the child’s face or 24 hours after the fever and runny nose have resolved, most children are no longer contagious.

The rash typically starts as bright red patches. They will resolve on their own after 5-10 days but can take several weeks in some cases. However, they may reappear weeks or months later.

Can Fifth Disease Cause Diaper Rash?

Yes, it’s entirely possible for a Fifth disease to cause a diaper rash. Even though the rash usually appears on the face of the baby first, there are cases where it spread to other body parts such as the diaper region.

The diaper rashes usually are treatable at home.

  • Keep the diaper area of your baby dry and clean by changing diapers often. This also helps prevent further irritation and infection.
  • Wash the diaper area of your child with warm water and mild soap instead of baby wipes. Most store-bought baby wipes contain alcohol and other harmful chemicals.
  • Apply a rash cream that contains zinc. Zinc helps to heal the skin and prevents further irritation. Be sure to apply the cream liberally and frequently, especially after each diaper change.
  • Try giving your baby some diaper-free time so that their skin can air out.
  • Avoid acidic foods that can irritate your baby’s bottoms or foods that can cause diarrhea.
  • If you’re looking for a replacement for ointment or cream to treat your baby’s diaper rash, olive oil is a great option. Not only does it moisturize the skin, but it can also relieve itchiness and dryness. Plus, it’s a natural product that you probably already have in your kitchen.
  • The anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of aloe vera make it an ideal treatment for diaper rash. And, unlike some other treatments, it’s safe for use on most babies older than three months.


Fifth disease is a mild illness caused by an infection of a virus that a child will recover from without any special treatment. However, it’s important to monitor your child for any potential complications such as high fever.

Additionally, the Fifth disease can cause diaper rashes in some cases. If you have any concerns, be sure to speak with the doctor or healthcare provider of your child for professional medical advice.

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