Outbreak of slap cheek in Richmond
By Dr Sebastian Renz MRCGP DFSRH, +richmond practice director
Just before the Easter holidays many local children were off school with a temperature. This might have been linked to an outbreak of slap cheek in Ham, Petersham, Teddington, Kew and around Richmond says Dr Sebastian Renz, +richmond practice medical director. Many primary school aged children were subsequently being kept at home, just before the schools broke up. +richmond practice doctors detected the outbreak and reported it on social media in particular to warn pregnant couples to be cautious.
Slapped cheek syndrome (also called fifth disease or parvovirus B19) is a viral infection that's most common in children, although it can affect people of any age. It usually causes a bright red rash to develop on the cheeks after a few days. After some more days a light pink rash on the chest, stomach, arms and thighs may appear. It is normally only a mild infection that clears up in one to three weeks and you’re then usually immune for life.
Other symptoms of slap cheek:
- a slightly high temperature (fever) of around 38C (100.4F)
- a runny nose
- a sore throat
- a headache
- an upset stomach
- feeling generally unwell
- Rest and drink plenty of fluids – babies should continue their normal feeds
- For a fever, headaches or joint pain, you can take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen - children under 16 should not take aspirin
- To reduce itchiness, you can take antihistamines or use an emollient (moisturising lotion) – some antihistamines are not suitable for young children, so check with your pharmacist first
Consult your doctor:
- You're pregnant – infection in pregnancy, particularly early pregnancy, carries a risk of causing miscarriage, stillbirth or other complications; however, this risk is usually small and most pregnant women will already be immune
- You have a blood disorder, such as sickle cell anaemia or thalassaemia, or a weakened immune system – the infection can cause severe anaemia that may need to be treated in hospital
- You have symptoms of severe anaemia, such as very pale skin, severe shortness of breath, extreme tiredness or fainting
At +richmond practice we offer emergency appointments and checks by consultant paediatricians, obstetricians and GPs. The service is available Monday to Saturday. Call us on 020 8940 5009 for a same day appointment or email email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for local health updates.